Two incredibly dry months means we are desperate for rain, as I write this at the beginning of June. Most winter wheat crops – and there aren’t that many in Lincolnshire – have had their flag leaf (T2) fungicides. Heavier land crops are hanging on, but light land ones are struggling, as are some spring crops.
Wheat ears are emerging and flowering starting. But what protection, if any, is required at T3 will depend on how you assess the potential of the crop and whether any rain arrives. There is talk about some rain in the forecast, but it is by no means certain whether it will fall in this area.
As it stands without more rain neither Fusarium ear blight or Septoria are likely to be major threats, but brown rust, particularly and yellow rust could need protecting against. In that case wheat crops with enough potential could be worth a dose of tebuconazole.
However, if rain does arrive during flowering then that changes the dynamics, with an increased threat from both Fusarium and Septoria. Many T2 fungicides will have been trimmed back due to the lower disease pressure, so a top up dose of something like Proline (prothioconazole) or Prosaro (prothioconazole + tebuconazole) will help those crops with potential to give continuing protection from those diseases and rusts, and even more so if the weather decides to do a “June 2019” when there was deluge.
Spring cereals are a minefield to discuss. Some that were drilled into moisture look quite well and are approaching T2 fungicide timing. The general principle is to use a similar approach to its winter counterpart, but using slightly lower doses. It is worth checking labels as not all fungicides are approved for spring crops.
At the other end of the scale are crops that have either not emerged at all or are very patchy. Now is the time to make a decision about whether to carry on, or cut your losses, spray or cultivate the crop in and start planning for an autumn crop to go into these fields.
For spring wheat and barley fields that are patchy and thin but also carrying high grass weed infestations this may be a hard decision to make but will definitely reduce grass weed seed return and burden for the next crop.
Sugar beet is another crop not liking the current dry conditions. Most crops have now emerged but can be quite variable in growth stages across the field. Care should be taken in product choice for herbicides so as not to damage the smaller plants in the field while still controlling, or at least checking weed growth.
Aphids and leaf miners are now quite active in crops so there is a need to monitor and treat these pests once thresholds have been met. There is an emergency approval for Biscaya (thiacloprid) use in sugar beet crops to control aphids which is a useful product where a non-pyrethroid insecticide is required. Unfortunately stocks in its last year of use are limited after a production issue, so alternative options, such as Teppeki (floicamid) or Insyst (acetamiprid) might be needed.
Potato crops are up and away and have received herbicide applications. While the weather is dry and hot blight pressure from both early blight (Alternaria) and late blight (Phytophthora infestans) will remain low, but irrigation to encourage growth will also greatly increase blight pressure.
Our product, Infinito (fluopicolide + propamocarb), is an excellent broad spectrum fungicide which gives good protection from both foliar and tuber blight and fits well into any programme from tuber initiation onwards.
Aphids also need to monitored for – again Biscaya and also Movento (spirotetramat) will help give protection through the season, but see check labels for the maximum number of applications of each product.
Bruchid beetle damage significantly reduces the value of beans for human consumption so it is worth monitoring PGRO warnings and spray timing advice for the local area. Most years a two-spray programme is needed, but again pay attention to labels for timing and restrictions for individual products. Biscaya is also an option for this pest where a non-pyrethroid insecticide is required.
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