As we move into June, some growers in Scotland are needing webbed feet just now after some significant rain. This has made travelling with the sprayer difficult and herbicide programmes in potatoes have been disrupted in places. There may be some catch up required once it comes dry again.
Cereal crops across the country are looking very well after fairly warm temperatures and rain during May, but it means there is the odd sign of disease in wheat crops. Yellow rust can be found in untreated plots at Bayer’s Edinburgh demo site and mildew can be found low down in the base of the canopy. It is a warning for growers not take their eye off the ball and fall at the first hurdle as we near the end of the season.
Oilseed rape crop are all over the place, with some finished flowering and other still going. These tend to be the crops hammered by pigeons, but good root systems and a mild back end have allowed them to recover and all oilseed rape crops look fantastic.
1. Plan for well-timed and robust T3 fungicide in wheat
There is a long time between T3 fungicides and harvest in Scotland and I would advise growers to get a robust spray on at flowering to protect yield. Fusarium and microdochium are the biggest threats and Proline (prothioconazole) at 0.55L/ha is the strongest option, being the only azole with activity on both.
At T3, Proline will also top up Septoria control and help keep mildew off the ear. Where rust is a worry, there is an option to add in tebuconazole or a strobilurin, but much will depend on variety and location as to whether this is necessary.
Accurate spray timing is the crucial thing for getting the most out of the T3 fungicide, with the optimum window between GS63 and GS65. It is a tight window and will vary across varieties and even in the same variety on different parts of the farm. Check crops and look for anthers starting to appear at the bottom of the head, up to the middle. If anthers are out at the tip, you are too late. If there are no anthers at all, you are too early.
2. Plan a spring barley T2 to keep crops clean
The final days of May have seen spring barley T1 fungicides applied, along with a herbicide for broad-leaved weed control. Looking ahead, T2 are typically in the third week of June or around the time of The Highland Show.
These should be applied as awns start to peep through and include 0.4-0.6L/ha Siltra (bixafen + prothioconazole) or 0.75-1L/ha Fandango (prothioconazole + fluoxastrobin) for control of the main barley diseases, along with a multisite like chlorothalonil for ramularia control. If it stays wet, ramularia levels could get up, so this is an important inclusion.
Also consider adding nutrition such as trace elements to help keep the crop healthy and reduce plant stress.