Barley Barley Crop Icon Brassicas Brassicas Crop Icon Sugar Beet Sugar Beet Carrots Carrots Icon Leeks Leek Icon Maize Maize Icon Oilseed Oilseed Icon Onions Onions Icon Other Cereals Other Cereals Icon O R T Peas And Beans Peas and beans Icon Potatoes Potatoes Icon Salad Crops Salad Crops Icon Soft Fruits Crops Soft Fruits Icon Top Fruits Crops Top Fruits Icon Wheat Crops Wheat Icon Calendar Calendar icon Arrow Next Arrow Previous Close Checkmark
Crop Advice & Expertise

What’s happening in fields in the East in early March?

East Anglia based Sam Harvey discusses light leaf spot risk in OSR, black-grass control in wheat crops and looks ahead to the start of sugar beet weed control programmes

At a Glance

This month’s messages:

  • Monitor OSR crops closely for light leaf spot
  • Apply mesosulfuron-based post-emergence herbicides as soon as conditions allow
  • Consider provenance of barley seed with the threat of ramularia
  • Early post-emergence herbicide applications in sugar beet are the most critical

As the rain comes down and the snow melts, temperatures are almost up to double digits and it feels a little more spring like. With some applying nitrogen a couple of weeks ago whilst there was the opportunity to travel, it remains to be seen whether this was the right decision due to run off now occurring.

Oilseed rape

OSR started to move ahead of the cold snap, assuming the pigeons were kept at bay. It’s around this time, as the crop starts to extend, that light leaf spot activity should be monitored closely, ensuring the disease is kept off extending buds. Risk will largely be down to varietal susceptibility, proximity to last years’ OSR trash and how long ago an application of an active fungicide such as Proline (prothioconazole) was made. The cold weather will have slowed disease progression, but the wet time since December will have encouraged conidia rain splash. Proline applied at 0.32l/ha – 0.46l/ha depending on risk will provide the most comprehensive cover.


Many wheat and barley crops are desperately ready for a feed of nitrogen and in many cases manganese too. Once travelling conditions return, the decision will be whether it’s too late for Hamlet (diflufenican + iodosulfuron + mesosulfuron), or should it be Monolith (mesosulfuron + propoxycarbazone) or Atlantis OD (iodosulfuron + mesosulfuron) on wheat crops. In either case, it will be critical to keep tank mixes as simple as possible, despite inevitable pressures on work load.

Residual efficacy on grassweeds this season has been mixed and down to moisture pre-November in the main, especially within parts of Essex. Where moisture wasn’t limiting, residual efficacy has largely been good (assuming drilled from third week of October) and the cold snap will have certainly aided overall grassweed control. Good residual activity or not – if the crop plans to go to harvest, a post-emergence application to minimise seed return is a no brainer. At the end of the day it’s a numbers game.

With regards spring drilling, one important consideration will be source of seed for barley, given developments in ramularia resistance, and growers should carefully consider provenance of the seed.

Sugar beet

As the record-yielding 2017 sugar beet campaign comes to close, the 2018/19 season will soon be upon us. It feels as though we are a long way from preparing a sugar beet seed-bed given the wet conditions, but when the time comes, early post-emergence herbicide application choice is critical as a foundation for canopy development, yield and ultimately, profitability. Betanal maxxPro (phenmedipham + desmedipham + ethofumesate + lenacil) is the product of choice, as it combines maximum efficacy with unrivalled crop safety.

Local technical updates

See all of our latest agronomy advice from across the country

View now