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Crop Watch - Patience Pays

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- Farmers Weekly - Andy Goulding

While a return to average temperatures may not be so welcome for many, the replenishment of water to the depths of our soil certainly is. The only damage from storm Gareth has been one of my flimsy fence panels.Andy-Goulding

Many autumn-sown crops are advanced. Wheat growth regulators centring on trinexapac and/or prohexadione (depending on speed of activity required) have been applied weeks ago to large crops – some which were then at growth stage 30 and even beyond (30mm from the base to ear!).

The next round of my little-and-often plant growth regulator approach is impending, with most crops still looking like they have the potential for high yield.

With tillering not finished and sufficient fertiliser applied I’m hoping to hit my target high ear number in many of my cereals this time.

Most of the winter barley is now looking a healthy colour again as a flush of new growth has smothered over the dying older tissue.

However, not all crops went too off colour – it was mainly Surge. Some fenpropimorph, manganese and a cold, wet snap would have put the mildew firmly to bed.

Patience pays

Thankfully, there weren’t too many cereals drilled in the “summer” just gone into heavy soils as the 95mm of rain that followed was not ideal for them. I’m not so fearful for the lighter land drillings.

Un-grazed grass leys have really pushed on following fertiliser application and have a resemblance to how they would usually be in the latter part of April.

A small area of early potatoes has been planted, herbicide on and put to bed with a fleece throw on.

The weather is looking set to improve substantially (depending on your rain requirements), with April forecast to be quite dry at present after the first half of the month.

My prayers are on a more straightforward year for potato residual herbicides after a challenging couple on the trot. “Rain rain go away, but make sure you're back for the start of May!”