West: Spring barley drilling about to start

We’re having some frustrating weather at the moment. Just as ground conditions become good enough to get field work done, we get a downpour of rain (1 inch) over the weekend.

Last Thursday we had a glorious spring type day with blue skies and temperatures up to 12C. There have been a few opportunities to apply P&K over the last month, but there is still plenty to do.

Some nitrogen and sulphur product was applied last week to light land oilseed rape and wheat as well as some backward oilseed rape crops. No spring barley is in as yet, but clients are hoping to start this week/next week.

I would rather see it going into soils that are warming up with a good spell of weather following drilling to allow it to get a good start and not sit for several weeks and lose vigour.

All scheduled carbetamide applications were completed the week before last. Some light land weed control has been disappointing and will need Galera (clopyralid + picloram) and Fox (bifenox) applied to control various weeds including cranesbill, poppy and mayweed. Hopefully these will be applied this week. Remember, Fox is a sola and the label weed is cranesbill.

Oilseed rape is a bit of a mixed bag, but in general I would say the vast majority of crops are looking good, some too good. Pigeon control has, in the main, been successful. But it has required some very dedicated clients to achieve this.

One late-sown crop has suffered some frost lift, but I think we have enough plants to make a crop. Phoma is visible on crops that received one autumn fungicide, but not at threshold levels. Most crops are quite big and we will apply a growth regulatory fungicide in the next two weeks, which will also have an effect on the disease.

September-sown wheat crops are lush and green. Septoria lesions are visible and early-sown Humber has a lot of mildew, which may well require a T0 mildewicide. It also looks as though it is nearly at GS30/end of tillering. Grafton has tillered very well, but is not reaching for the sky just yet.

I’m looking to start getting grassweed control products on the small, unsprayed acreage from the autumn as well as any blackgrass fields over the next two weeks.

I am holding off florasulam/pyroxsulam applications at the moment, as I want a guaranteed warm spell before hitting the button. I am using this product where I have brome, wild oats or Italian rye grass, and mix of broad-leaved weeds. I’m hoping to get nitrogen and sulphur products on this week to light land and late-sown wheat.

Winter barley is just starting to lose some colour and, again, I am hoping to get nitrogen and sulphur product on this week with the intention of applying all the nitrogen by the end of March.

Some rhynchosporium and net blotch is visible, but not at the point of treating, apart from one crop of Maris otter which I am hoping to get an application of cyprodinil on over the next 10 days. This will also have a good effect on mildew that is present.

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