West: What a week of weather

What a week of weather. Spring-like sunshine midweek, then icy torrential rain on Sunday.  Crops prospered in the warmth with winter oilseed rape in particular putting on a real spurt of growth.  Opportunities were taken to drill spring beans and spring barley into excellent seed beds following winter ploughing. Fuego is still the pre-eminent variety. Prospects for pulses look good this season with reduced plantings of the winter bean crop in particular. Spring barley has had nitrogen incorporated into the seed bed.

It has also been a busy week for spraying, with a lot of contact graminicides applied to winter wheat in ideal conditions. Cleavers look green and fresh, therefore, a low dose of amidosulfuron has been included where appropriate. The next spraying target will be mayweeds, cleavers and thistles in winter rape with Galera (clopyralid and picloram). The window for this product is very narrow and many crops will need treatment over the next week if it warms up again. 

Oilseed rape has responded well to initial inputs of N (65kg/ha) and SO3 (90 kg/ha). In general, canopies are smaller than pre-Christmas, so cutbacks in Nitrogen will need to be carefully judged. Charlock has been well controlled by frost and specific off-label approval bifenox. Where bifenox was not applied smaller plants have survived.

We have not been drawn into pre T0 treatments in Wheat and will focus our efforts on Leaf 4 upwards.  Some very forward winter barley crops will receive a T0 based largely on cyprodinil mixed with spiroxamine where rust is an issue.  Most winter barley has now had an initial input of N to preserve tillers whereas the picture in wheat is a mixed bag, only late or poorly established crops have received an initial 40kh/ha N.

A very busy time looms ahead so over the next few days time spent in preparation and planning now will reap huge dividends later in the season.  Be especially careful to get any blackgrass or sterile brome problems put to bed now.  Later control is inefficient and yields will be reduced by competition.

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