South: Thinking about a rain dance

No two years are ever the same and this season is throwing up afew surprises.

Bad light leaf spot in oilseed rape that has received two phomasprays is certainly a surprise. Problems seem most prevalent in themore forward crops, which are receiving a robust fungicidepreferably including prothioconazole.

With early crops at the yellow bud to first flowers openingstage, this is a slight compromise, which will confuse the mainsclerotinia spray timing.

Some early control of sclerotinia can be expected from a sprayat yellow bud, but beware of leaving the main spray too far intoflowering.

Watch out – pollen beetles are about in large numbers. Whilethey’re not a problem in forward crops coming into flower, use athreshold of five per plant for backward or thin crops.

Early wheat crops are at GS30 and have been treated withchlorotoluron and growth regulator. I have used little triazole atT0 this year.

Most wheats are still a week off GS30 and, with continuing dryweather, it is hard to see the justification for a T0 aimed atseptoria control, given that the gap to T1 will be relativelyshort. If it stays dry yellow rust could be more of a problem.

Winter barleys will be ready for a T1 by the end of this weekand that should major around prothioconazole plus strobilurin andgrowth regulator. Remember this is the most important timing onbarley and so where the main fungicide investment should be.

The recent dry weather has allowed rapid progress with springdrilling. Early-sown spring barley is tillering, although much ofthe crop is sitting in bone dry soils. We really do needsignificant rain so these crops can get away.

A month ago I never thought I’d be contemplating a rain dance byearly April.

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