This month’s messages:
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.
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.
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.
Well you can for free thanks to SpotCheck, a collaboration between Bayer and ADAS with extensive support from the Association of Independent Crop Consultants (AICC). ADAS will be undertaking leaf assessments sent in by growers to make a conclusive diagnosis on what is a very difficult disease to identify.