South: Spring drilling ahead of schedule

Spring nitrogen applications have started now that most crops are showing signs of growth.  The first priorities will be oilseed rape and barley, followed by late drilled or backward wheat crops that need some more tillers. The majority of wheat crops are still thick, so won’t need nitrogen for a week or two at least. The first nitrogen application also needs to include sulphur as standard.

Autumn Atlantis (iodosulfuron+mesosulfuron) has generally worked well, however, places where controls seems poor need recording so that seed samples can be collected and sent off for resistance testing pre-harvest. Spring applications have been going on in the last couple of weeks, where there has been fresh growth visible. There is still lots more to be done, but with this cold snap forecast for the first half of the week I’m advising taking a break at the moment.  Much of the grassweed populations, like the crops, are very large so want taking out as soon as possible rather than waiting for a more traditional T0 timing. 

Blackgrass and bromes in oilseed rape look to have been controlled well by propizamide/carbetamide, even though we sprayed later than normal as crops needed to open up to allow chemical to reach the soil. As a result grassweeds were larger and deeper rooted than normal, so some had a graminicide added as well. Some plants look alive visually but when pulled up have all the usual signs of being controlled, so I’m confident that they won’t survive.

Spring barley and wheat drilling is 10-14 days ahead of normal this year. Round here the majority is drilled during Gold Cup week. With the festival being a bit later this year and the season being earlier it’s likely that most barley crops will have emerged by then. Seedbeds are looking good except on some of the fields that have only been ploughed in the last month or so. The frosts in January and February have done their bit in terms of cultivations.

Mildew levels are staying fairly low at the moment, this colder snap is likely to hold it back as well. Rust levels are variable. Oakley, Solstice and Cordiale are carrying the most but are not the only ones with some. Where sprayers are going through, either for grassweeds or manganese deficiency, I’m adding in a low dose Centaur (cyproconazole) if needed to take out the rust in the hope that will prevent us from needing to bring T0 applications forward. Winter barley crops are the next on the list, if there is ever a year for them to benefit from a T0 this is likely to be it. 

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