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Crop Watch: Very short crops and a grain aphid invasion – Farmers Weekly – Helen Brown

Helen Brown looks at agronomic issues in the North (Cumbria) ...

Another month has passed in an exceptionally challenging season. Winter barley is on the turn and harvest time is fast approaching. Yields will be exceptionally variable this harvest, and straw yields are likely to be poor after the lack of rain.

Thin winter crops after a dry spring, coupled with a recent shift in weather to wet and warm conditions, have led to late emergence of weeds in winter cereals – a frustrating finish to a consistently difficult season for this year’s winter cereals.

Weed control again has been hard in spring cereals. Dry conditions meant very few weeds emerged until recently, when the rain arrived at the same time as ear emergence – a difficult situation for chemical control!

Helen Brown

Maize crops are very variable. Those under plastic have now fully emerged and post-emergence sprays have been applied where required. This has been in the majority of cases this year, again due to the dry conditions at planting.

It is time to consider foliar nitrogen in maize. This crop requires a lot of its nitrogen at the end of the season, during the time when we are unable to apply it due to the crop height. A slow-releasing nitrogen foliar fertiliser can be very beneficial to ensure a sufficient nitrogen supply to the crop as it forms cobs at the end of the season.

Weeds are now growing back after the first cut, and this is a good opportunity for control where missed before first cut. In general, first-cut silage was high-quality, but delivered poor to average yields.

Hopefully, this wetter weather is going to help provide more bulk at second cut to fill clamps. The past few weeks have brought a change in weather to humid, thundery conditions and this has increased blight risk significantly. Hutton criteria was first met in my area on 14 June, so blight programmes have now been started.

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