West: Signs of moisture stress

After nearly three weeks without significant rain and 10 days of baking heat, crops on thinner  soils are showing signs of moisture stress. A lot of maize has been drilled or re-drilled in the past few days and is emerging remarkably rapidly in the warm soil.

Spring barley is at last beginning to move into the stem extension stage after spending weeks lying low in the cold and wet. Rhynchosporium can be found in some crops and needs early treatment. Once well established it can be difficult to eradicate.

Winter wheat ears are emerging on forward crops so ear wash sprays are being applied. Yellow rust is still a threat in susceptible varieties and must not be ignored and brown rust has been encouraged by the hot weather. As we have no idea what the weather will be for the weeks through to harvest, a T3 ear fungicide is always advisable, to protect quality and increase yield. 

It is at this stage that growers need to be checking wheat crops, in the evening, for wheat orange blossom midge. So far reports have been of low numbers and sprays should not be applied unless thresholds are reached; that’s one midge per three ears in feed wheat and one per six ears in milling. If your wheat variety is midge resistant there’s no need to treat anyway.

Mildew is developing in spring beans as they are coming into flower. Protectant treatments need to be applied as soon as possible. Winter beans need to be monitored for chocolate spot and rust and sprayed if necessary.

The wet weather in April delayed linseed and fodder beet drilling. Both are now emerging and are being  attacked by flea beetle. Treatment should not be delayed as whole crops can disappear in a couple of days.

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