West: It’s spring again (maybe)

We seem to be back into milder weather again, after a chilly hiccup last week. Rain in the past 10 days has helped to produce some excellent spring seed-beds and there has been a lot of drilling going on.

Conditions are good for pre-emergence herbicides. In pulses they should be the first choice, as post-emergence herbicide options are so limited. In spring barley, particularly where there are grassweed problems, a pre-emergence treatment is a good idea. It can give complete control of meadowgrass and at least some reduction of blackgrass.

Given the varying temperatures of the past month, it has been stop/start with applications of post-emergence graminicides in wheat. Blackgrass does now seem to be actively growing so it’s time to finish off any remaining treatments. Delaying until later will only make control more difficult and can compromise yield.

As T0 timing approaches in wheat, there seems to be little evidence of rust. As usual, in the west, septoria is the main threat. Mildew is also present on many crops; it has been held back by the cold weather but given suitable conditions, could become a problem.

Net blotch is the most obvious disease in winter barley at present, along with remnants of mildew. Unless you are planning a T0 treatment, it’s probably better to wait until late March to attack it.

Oilseed rape crops no longer have the mass of growth of early January, but they are starting to grow away. Light leaf spot can be found in many crops and should be treated as soon as possible. Do not wait for green bud timing.

There’s always a very short window for cleavers control in rape. Spraying must be done before the flower buds appear above the canopy. Most of the weeds still look purple and woody so they need to put on some fresh growth before Galera is applied.

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