West: Rain and warm causes growth spurt

Welcome rain and warmer temperatures have allowed crops to put on a growth spurt.

Flag leaf fungicides are being applied to the forward autumn sown wheats. SDHI / triazole mixes are being recommended,  at rates appropriate to field conditions.  There is little visible disease , but the recent warm wet weather will encourage septoria development, and timely treatment is vital. Yellow rust has been found in Solstice which missed a T0 treatment. This variety has performed well for many years, but Crusoe now looks better in terms of disease resistance.

Spring break crops have improved and beans in particular look promising. Spring rape development has been very slow, and few crops received metazachlor pre- emergence.  Charlock has been a problem in both crops. There has been some use of bifenox with an EAMU in spring rape, and bentazone in beans.

Concerns of adverse crop effects using SU herbicides in linseed this spring have been unfounded. Few  problems have been noted, and nutrient partner products appear to have helped. A benefit of growing linseed is easier charlock control.

Thoughts are now beginning to turn to next year’s cropping. This season has not encouraged anyone to look too far ahead, but carry – over seed needs germination testing, and correct crop and variety choices will hopefully allow everyone to get back to a sustainable rotation.

A knee – jerk reaction to last autumn may encourage earlier drilling of wheat this autumn, despite the serious increase in blackgrass herbicide resistance.  Recent HGCA research demonstrates an inconvenient truth. The trials show that delaying wheat drilling from 16th September to 7 th October massively reduced blackgrass seed return.  A late harvest will affect sowing dates, but delaying drilling may be a difficult call for some.


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