When Did Crops Last Look This Good at This Time of Year?

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Crop Watch - Farmers Weekly

Few of my clients can remember a time when crops have looked so good at this time of year.


Of course there is the exception other crop watchers have mentioned, yellowing barleys where the larger canopies are running out of nutrition with a bit of mildew kicking around as well.

It's a very positive position to be in, crops are good and prices should, hopefully, remain strong come harvest and we can travel at this time of year to treat crops. A first for me!

Growth has been almost continual all winter as my turf crops that failed to root well in the summer drought are now holding together and being harvested. This goes to show just how much growth there has been.

At present all high biomass cereals, second wheats and oilseed rape should have received nitrogen and sulphur and those less forward are destined to do so.

Hopefully, at the time of print I will have received all the tissue analysis results back to treat crops with micro-nutrition where appropriate.

Manganese has been in issue in many areas, particularly light land and those not rolled. This is being addressed, but remember sub-clinical deficiencies, not just those shouting loudly.

The earlier we can get a healthy, well-nourished, well-rooted, big canopy the better the chance we have of high yield.

Some very forward and tall crops will also be getting plant growth regulators to get some order back into the canopy. As I say, it's good to get a large canopy intercepting plenty of light early, but the capacity of the roots to feed it season-long is essential.

Winter oats are looking good after heeding lessons from others and not opting for the use of flufenacet. Thus far, I'm pleased with the weed burden remaining given the lack of residual chemistry available.

Septoria in wheat is a bit of mixed bag, some are as clean as a whistle while others harbour plenty of it.

Hopefully, as this is published spring cereals are being drilled as soils are becoming friable again, with only the problem areas where severe compaction or drainage is an issue.

Remember to always drill plant numbers not weight and to be realistic with establishment. Don't fall at the first hurdle.

- Andy Goulding, Hutchinsons