West: Spring barley drilling now underway

 The cold weather in February has certainly helped with keeping mildew under control in cereal crops and put a slight brake on the forward crops, we got as low as -8-9c. Due to the dry conditions most clients have been applying P&K for the last three weeks or so when ground was not too sticky.

Spring barley drilling has started this week on the light land and I suspect quite a bit will be done this next 10-14 days. Wild oats continue with their emergence which should allow for earlier graminicide control. Windy conditions over the last 10 days has made any spraying to be carried out somewhat problematic.

Winter barley crops now looking rather yellow which I think is partly due to a lot of lower leaf senescence due to mildew being killed off by frost and the need to start getting nitrogen on, which will start this week. Some very forward crops are approaching the end of tillering, but these are the exception rather than the norm.

Rynchosporium and net blotch levels are not significant and not looking at any major amounts of T0 fungicide applications. Manganese deficiency is starting to kick in and some crops will need manganese applications over the next 10 days.

Winter OSR has continued to grow despite the cold conditions (which as mentioned last month has been great news for my late germinating crops). The pigeons have finally made their appearance on rape crops over the last 2-3 weeks, but not near the same numbers as last year. Assorted scarers seem to be doing the trick in most cases.

There are some signs of occasional plants starting to extend and I imagine we will be applying fungicides in the next two weeks or so some with fungicide for growth regulatory effect (probably less than usual).

Light leaf spot is starting to appear, but I will try to hold off on most crops until mid march unless it really takes off. Majority of Fox has now been applied along with the balance of the carbetamide. Nitrogen/sulphur applications are starting this week particularly on the backward crops.

Most forward crops now have main stem at GS30, I have yet to find any yellow or brown rust and have checked both solstice and Oakley for rust. Frosts have dampened down the mildew for now, but lots of septoria is evident in the bottom of most crops so will most definitely be applying T0 fungicide to most wheat crops.

I am looking to start applying pyroxsulam + florasulam two weeks from today (as long as it stays warm) on the forward crops so that we can apply growth regulator fungicide 10-14 days later. For later crops we will try to apply with a T0 fungicide at the end of March with growth regulators going on at T1.

There are plenty of wild oats visible and some of the brome in min till fields is already quite big, cleavers and other broad-leaved weeds are also through so should be ok for early control. Manganese issues are still a problem on the lighter land and some crops have already had two applications since beginning of the year.

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