West: Rainfall revives wheat

Rainfall over the last two weeks has amounted to anything from 15-45mm and can be separated by a few miles as the crow flies. Very high winds over the weekend and today will not be helping the soil moisture deficit. But we are still very thankful for what we have had.

Wheat has responded very well, and has turned dark green as a result of taking up nitrogen from last week of March and end of April applications. Soils on the heavy side of medium and medium soils with inherent fertility have coped well with the dry conditions with little signs of tiller loss. But soils on the light side of medium and soils with little inherent fertility have lost tillers to a greater or lesser degree.

Where rainfall has been greatest it has penetrated down to 5-6 inches within the profile and should keep the crop going for a while. Despite the windy conditions T2 has, in the main, been completed albeit with timings running between 23-28 days. 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. Grafton and Humber are now at full ear with no signs of flowering as yet.

Septoria is restricted to leaf 4-5 in the main with some visible on leaf three. I am expecting this to move up the crop, particularly as crops are shorter than normal, accompanied by showers along with high winds. If conditions are conducive to fusarium infection at flowering (expecting this to be next week) then we will more than likely do a T3.

Winter oilseed rape has all but finished flowering apart from later-flowering varieties and those that were hit by pigeons which were in full flower at the end of last week. I am also convinced that some of these crops were drought stressed in the run up to easter as very short pods are visible. Also frost damaged flower heads can be found.

I think a combination of dry/cold/hot and pigeon damage conspired in some crops aborting flowering and once we had the rainfall it kicked them back into action. However, I’m open to any other suggestions.

Pod midge damage is visible in quite a few crops despite insecticide at early to mid flower for seed weevil, which suggests that they were in the crop a lot earlier than usual. I could find seed weevil wrapped around pods just forming within the flower head of late flowering crops at the end of last week which will need treating.

Early sown spring barley mirrors the wheat in that on fertile early sown ground the crop has just about hung on, but very light areas and patches over rock have suffered with just the main stem surviving. Crops all seem to be either at full flag with early sown crops pushing the awns out and stressed crops doing the same.

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