South: Start of the season

Most crops have come through the winter well, although there is some frost heave in places. Where this is the case, be prepared to roll fields when soil conditions allow.

Winter wheat and winter barley are at growth stage 21-24, and winter oats are at growth stage 21. There is some tiller loss in winter barley, especially in variety Cassata.

It would be advisable to apply some nitrogen once active growth has started. This will help promote new tillers and retain existing tillers. Tiller number is all important in the barley crop for maintaining yields.

Some septoria is present on the older leaves of winter wheat crops. The autumn residuals have worked remarkably well with only little blackgrass showing through, but there are a large number of cleavers about.

Oilseed rape crops are looking good and seem to have survived the cold weather well, but crops that have had only one application of fungicide are showing phoma lesions and will need an application of a good fungicide. Light leaf spot is starting to appear in some fields, as it did about this time last year.

This disease is now becoming more prominent in the south and where this disease is observed treat with prothioconazole and flusilazole. Some backward crops are being foraged hard by pigeons and urgent remedial action is needed.

It is too late to apply propizamide now, but where grassweeds are a problem then there is still time to use carbetamide. Spring beans are being drilled and spring barley will be drilled from the middle of this month. Ensure adequate seed number of 355 seeds per square meter is drilled as spring barley will not tiller like winter barley.

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