Sticking to the plan has paid off for Philip Reck

The cool weather of the previous month has finally been replaced by warm sunshines. Crops are relishing this and are growing strongly.

Soils have returned to their normal temperature for this time of year of 12C. Once soils reach this temperature crop growth will be largely unaffected by the weather.

The unseasonable conditions also slowed the uptake of nitrogen from the top dressing. Adequate nitrogen in the seed-bed bridged the gap and crops are now growing well as the warmer weather has allowed rapid uptake of this available nitrogen.

The early application of sulphur was instrumental in making this nitrogen readily available to the young barley plant. Patience at drilling has also meant that headlands have taken heavy rain fall without any damage from water logging.

Spring barley will be sprayed at T1 with Siltra (prothioconazole + bixafen) and Terpal. As the barley has already received a fungicide with the weed spray this lets me target application at the optimum stage for the growth regulator.

This ensures the interval to the final spray does not exceed three weeks. Growth rates vary greatly and spreading the fungicides over three applications means the plants have protection even if the conditions don’t allow spraying to take place.

Winter wheat has received its T2 of Adexar (epoxiconazole + fluxapyroxad) and Bravo (chlorotalonil). The cold weather had slowed the emergence of the flag leaf, but it didn’t stretch the timing of T1 past its regimental 21 days.

Septoria has been an ever-present threat this year and holding off applying the T0 until the correct timing has meant each subsequent application has been applied exactly when needed, without excessive application rates being required.

It has certainly been a case of holding your nerve this year.

Philip Reck manages 1,050ha of light to medium loams within 20 miles of Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, Ireland. Cropping is cereals and oilseed rape, all min-till established.

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