South: Temperatures increase, but rain desperately needed

At last temperatures have risen and crops are growing rapidly. Unfortunately it is still very dry and this has hampered the uptake of nitrogen and on the lighter/thinner soil types, crops are clearly under a lot of stress. These crops need rainfall this week if yield potential is not going to suffer greatly  

Wheat crops have just had a T2 fungicide application and the next concern will be the dreaded orange blossom midge. The use of pheromone traps to monitor midge numbers is a useful tool and at least reduces the need to check all wheat crops during the evening period!

Traps want to be in position as the boots split. If it stays hot and dry, ear emergence will happen quickly and hopefully crops will not be at the vulnerable stage for too long.

Rape crops continue to flower well with the forward crops rapidly approaching the end of flowering. Hopefully, not to many of them will require a second sclerotinia spray. The exception to this will probably be DK Cabernet which will still be flowering for some time yet. This variety still continues to worry me.

Some crops now look okay and seem to be podding up nicely, but these are the exception. In most cases DK Cabernet is not setting pods well with up to 20 blind sites on the main racime. In a few cases, fields have never really come into full flower and I have even heard reports of farmers close to writing crops off they look so dire, frost damage is the most likely cause of these woes.

Forward crops of spring beans are just starting to flower and will receive a fungicide shortly. 

Winter beans came through the winter carrying a lot of chocolate spot and received a fungicide three weeks ago. This has contained the disease on the lower leaves and a second application will be made shortly.

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