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Crop Watch: Maize drilling and rust alert in winter cereals – Farmers Weekly – Helen Brown

Helen Brown looks at agronomic issues in the North ...

Who’d have thought a month ago that my next Cropwatch piece would be a cry for some rain? But here we are after an extremely dry April shouting for rain and I am eagerly watching the forecast in hope that by time you read this we will have at least had enough to settle the dust.

Winter crops are varied from growth stage 31 up to 39 in some winter barleys. Lack of rain has reduced rhyncosporium risk in winter barleys.

However, the recent warm conditions are ideal for brown rust which I have spotted in many winter barleys. I have edited my T1 fungicide applications to account for this shift.

Helen Brown, Crop Watch North (Cumbria)

We are starting to see some big differences in wheat varieties at our regional trial site, which was drilled late into poor conditions and then struggled through a very wet winter.

This is giving us a great opportunity to see how the varieties perform under pressure. There are some stand-outs for vigour – which for me include Extase, Skyscraper and Gleam.

Spring drilling

Spring drilling is fully under way in Cumbria. Spring barleys are varying from being still in the bag up to 3-4 leaf stage.

Reducing the amount of soil movement and trying to cultivate/drill and roll in one day where possible is essential to preserve moisture when establishing spring barley crops in these conditions. There is limited spring weed germination in crops so far due to lack of moisture.

Maize drilling is also under way and soil conditions are nice and warm. However, the dry seed-beds bring concern over pre-emergence efficacy, which is important when using film. Where growers are not using film, I have moved towards a post-emergence herbicide programme, since the pre-emergence will have limited efficacy in these dry conditions.

Docks are currently around the ideal size for control in grass swards. However, care is needed as the hot, dry conditions mean grass may be stressed, so chemicals that are softer on grass may be needed.


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