Crop Watch North - Farmers Weekly - Helen Brown

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Helen Brown - Thumbnail CropwatchJust as we were starting to shout for rain up in Cumbria, our usual weather patterns returned. We have now had a few very wet weeks, causing some quick growth in all crops, and are hoping the rain knows how to stop again.

Winter cereals are now all out in ear and the last of the T3 fungicides are being applied in winter wheat.

In general, winter wheat and barley are looking well and the gates are being shut until harvest time.

There are tall barley crops around the county and any heavy storms will be a concern for some crops.

However, as shown at our trials site, which has plots treated with fungicide and plant growth regulator (PGR) alongside untreated ones, a good PGR programme has helped significantly thicken straw, making them much more resilient to lodging pressure without big reductions in straw yield.



Spring barleys are motoring through the growth stages after the recent wet weather.

Although weed control was done early in some spring barleys, most fields had poor weed emergence until recent rains, so weed control was delayed and applied alongside the T1 fungicide and PGR.

Both have now been applied on most spring cereals, except a few late-drilled crops.

As typical for the region, rhyncosporium is now present in spring barley, and prothioconazole has been the base of my fungicide choices in the crop, alongside an SDHI in higher-risk situations – for example, on less-resistant varieties.

The first blight sprays have been applied to potato crops after the first Hutton period was reached on 31 May.

Potatoes have benefited greatly from receiving some moisture and the first new potatoes are starting to be lifted in the region.

Maize is now through the film and any post-emergence herbicides required are being applied. Generally, this is where recent rains have encouraged a later emergence of weeds.