In Shropshire, most T2 fungicide applications had been completed despite the windy weather, but the interval from T1 had been stretched to 23-28 days, said AICC agronomist Bryce Rham.
He said: “Rightly or wrongly we decided to stick with bixafen plus prothioconazole based upon recent rainfall and potential value of crop. With delayed timing and rainfall I am pleased we took this decision.”
Most Grafton and Humber crops had reached full ear emergence with no signs of flowering, he said. “Septoria is restricted to leaf 4-5 in the main with some visible on leaf three. If conditions are conducive to fusarium infection at flowering (expected this to be next week) then we will more than likely do a T3.”
Yorkshire AICC agronomist Patrick Stephenson said cereal crops were short and open which was helping weeds recover from earlier spring sprays. “This coupled with a flush of late-germinating weeds means pre-harvest desiccation could be widespread this season.”
The state of crops and the disease threat meant he was not convinced that SDHI chemistry was worth the investment. “With little disease present and no significant rainfall forecast in the near future, I’m afraid most will remain with tried and trusted products.”
Some early-drilled oilseed rape was looking good, but there were several backward and poor crops, he noted. “Pod abortion is very common in these and some varieties are suffering worse than others.”
In Buckinghamshire, spring barley was struggling and most crops were putting flag leaves out at 15-20cm tall, said ProCam agronomist Nick Brown. “It will soon be time to apply a second fungicide to these, but it will require some rain to justify this on most.”
Wheat crops were at various stages of ear emergence and crops hit early by the drought were flowering, he said. “Ear wash decisions will have to be made soon and at the moment I’m probably only going to treat quality wheats and dirty varieties that need a top-up to the flag leaf fungicide.”
Brian Ross, a Frontier agronomist in Suffolk said sugar beet and forage maize were the only crops in the area coping in the dry weather. “Beet in some fields is meeting not just between, but across the rows.” Weed control started out well, but in some cases wind had significantly delayed applications, he said.
Knotgrass was his biggest headache and many growers had resorted to tractor hoes. “I also have seen a great deal of weed beet. With all the emphasis on contact herbicides, if or when it rains and where beet have not closed up, a residual spray could be very beneficial in containing late fat hen that will almost certainly appear.”
In Yorkshire, most residual herbicides had been applied to potato crops and most had worked well, said John Sarup from SAC. “It’s just a case now of assessing where further control is needed with Titus (rimsulfuron). It’s worth remembering that it does do a fairly good job on grassweeds as well as tidying up oilseed rape and cleavers.”
Blight control was now a priority for both early and late crops along with aphid control in seed crops, he added. “Don’t forget to check all potato dumps and destroy any growth present.”
Covering dumps with black plastic was a good control method as stopped growth and encouraged tubers to break down and rot, he added.