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CropCheck

National Snapshot Project

 

As part of this season’s CropCheck initiative, our technical managers have partnered with local farmers to track disease progression in commercial wheat fields across the UK and Ireland.

Comparison: Each grower has selected two fields, each with varieties with contrasting Septoria triticiratings. For example, Bayer technical manager, Ella Crawford has partnered with James Nott of Ovington Hall, and they are comparing a crop of Extase with Gleam, Septoria tritici one-year ratings of 7.1 and 5.5 respectively. They will also be evaluating the impact of drilling date with Gleam being drilled approximately three weeks after Extase. 

Yellow rust and Septoria tritici: Every sample will be tested for both Yellow Rust and Septoria tritici using qPCR analysis, which will detect the presence or absence of disease and quantify the level of each disease present. Whilst Bayer is still developing an understanding of what different levels of disease mean, these results can be compared to our data set built up over the past eight years of latent disease testing fungicide decisions. CropCheck is designed to provide another layer of information, this insight allowing disease control strategies to be adapted accordingly.

Regular sampling: Sampling started in late January and will continue throughout the season until July. Samples will be taken at regular intervals to begin with but then weekly through March to July,

Ng/DNA/mg values will be used to create a CropCheck scoring system indicating disease status. CropCheck scores of 1 – 20 indicates a protectant scenario and full fungicide efficacy. 21 – 49 early-stage infection. Mycelium is beginning to penetrate leaf stomata and fungicide application needs to be made quickly to ensure full efficacy. 50 – 100 is late-stage infection where Septoria hyphae are established inside the leaf and fungicide activity is diminished.

For yellow rust, CropCheck scores are revised to reflect the shorter latent phase. 1 – 20 indicates a protectant scenario and full fungicide efficacy. 21 – 100 that the disease is established and curative fungicide activity is desired.

Leaf layers: This project will also focus on building an understanding of disease levels in different leaf layers of the wheat plant through the season. During the early part of the season, samples are taken from the newest leaf layer. As the wheat plants start to put on growth, samples will then be taken from multiple leaf layers and tested individually building up to the top 4 leaf layers during May and June allowing us to track the progression of disease throughout the plant over time.

Every field is different: There are so many factors that affect disease pressure in wheat crops including drilling date, variety, winter weather and spring rainfall. Therefore, it is important to note that these results are not reflective of disease levels across the whole country. They simply give us a ‘snapshot’ at a moment in time from the selected 26 commercial fields across UK and Ireland.

If you would like to trial Bayer’s CropCheck to understand disease levels in Wheat or Barley on your own farm, you can Register your interest to take part here.

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Week beginning

Autoplay Autoplay
McClean
Field B - McLean
McLean Field B
Field B-Taylor
Taylor
Field A - Taylor
Taylor Field A
Taylor - Field A
Field A-Taylor
South Scotland
South Scotland
South Scotland
South Scotland
South Scotland
South Scotland
Scotland South
South Scotland
Field 16 - CH
Field 16 - CH
Field 16
Field 16
Field 16 - CH
Asenby 1312
Asenby 1312
Field 16 - CH
Field 16-CH 
Asenby 1312
Asenby 1312
Asenby 1312
Asenby 1312
Lane side
Gas pipe
Strawsons
Hay Farming
Strawsons
Strawsons
Strawsons
Strawsons
Strawsons
Strawsons
Strawsons
Strawsons
Strawsons
Strawsons
Strawsons
43 Acre 
43 Acre
43 Acre 
43 Acre
43 Acre
43 acre
43 Acre 
43 Acre 
43 Acre
43 acre
Line field, Haconby Fen
Spratlings 101, Haconby Fen
Spartlings 101, Haconby Fen
Line field, Haconby Fen
Line field, Haconby Fen
Spratlings 101, Haconby Fen
Spratlings 101, Haconby Fen
Spratlings 101, Haconby Fen
Long Sutton
Long Sutton
Long Sutton
Long Sutton
Long Sutton
Long Sutton
Long Sutton
Long Sutton
Long Sutton
Long Sutton
Long Sutton
Long Sutton
Long Sutton
Long Sutton
Long Sutton
Long Sutton
Long Sutton
Long Sutton
Long Sutton
Long Sutton
Russ Trials Site
Russ Trials Site
Russ Trials Site
Suffolk
Essex NS
Essex NS
Essex NS
Essex NS
Essex NS
Essex NS
Essex NS
Essex NS
Essex NS
Essex NS
Essex NS
Essex NS
Brinkley Middle
Brinkley Meadow
Seabornes 3
Turnpike Way
Turnpike Way
Gt Withnams
Gt. Witnams
Turnpike Way
Turnpike Way
Site B
Site A
Site A
Site B
Established latent infection
Early stage infection
Protectant scenario

July

June Week 1

Leaf layer tested: Top 2 leaves, 2 & 1.

 

Summary

As we enter June drought stress is the greater concern with many of our National Snapshot partners.

June was another unaverage month with higher temperatures and lower rainfall for most areas but met Office figures indicate an east/west divide. The most westerly regions saw rainfall and temperatures much closer to the monthly average, but eastern counties saw mean maximum temperatures 1°C above their long-term averages. Rainfall was also significantly down.

But climate variability can also be considerable over small areas. At Long Sutton, Lincs David Hoyles of G H Hoyles Lt recorded 94mm for June. But a number of local visitors to the Bayer demo day at the site reported much less – some less than 20 mm.

David is lucky. He has fertile soils and North Sea breezes keep temperatures down. His crops are still looking a little green, but elsewhere many have turned.

For the third week in succession there has been little change with CropCheck Scores. Those varieties that carried Septoria tritici or yellow rust during the later half of June remaining that way into July.

However, at the majority of National Snapshot partner farms leaf 1 is still in the protectant phase.

Septoria tritici:

The key site where high Septoria tritici pressure is hanging on is Talehead Farm, Ottery St Mary, Devon. Leaves 2 and 1 of Gravity (4.6) still have CropCheck scores in the red, established latent infection. Leaf 2 of Graham (6.4) also remains in the established latent phase. But its varietal resilience is possibly showing as leaf 1 remains in the protectant phase.

At Halfhead Farm, Stone the Septoria tritici in Dawsum (6.1) and Skyscraper (4.6) has remained as was. Skyscraper still carries the greater infection, leaf 2 in particular where the disease is visible. Leaf 1 is just in the protectant phase with a CropCheck score of 20. Again, varietal resilience is evident as leaf 1 of Dawsum is very much in the protective phase (CropCheck scores of 1 – 20) and leaf 2 just outside.

There’s also no significant change with Skyscraper at Scoughall Farm, East Lothian. It still has infection in the upper canopy but not at significant levels, nor is the disease visible. Although drilled a week earlier, the upper canopy of Saki (5.1) is much cleaner.

The only change of some note is that Septoria tritici has spread to leaf 2 of Spotlight (4.9) at Middlebank Farm, Errol, Perthshire. With a CropCheck score of 44 it is in the early infection phase. It could be that yellow rust pressure has left the crop more susceptible to the disease. Yellow rust has been present in the upper canopy throughout June.

Project lead Greg Hanna says it isn’t uncommon to see Septoria tritici come in behind yellow rust infection. “If yellow rust has developed as far as its necrotrophic phase this effectively leaves the door open to other pathogens. These can easily access leaf tissues through lesions that are characteristic of cell death and collapse. The cells surrounding infection sites may also be depleted.”

What links these sites is drilling date. All were drilled ahead of mid-October which is unlikely to be a coincidence.

 

Yellow rust:

As with Septoria tritici there has been no real change now we are into July. It is still Spotlight (5) from Middlebank Farm, Errol, Perthshire and Gleam (5) at Ovington Hall, Essex, that are still troubled by yellow rust.

The infection at Middlebank Farm mirrors what we are seeing elsewhere. Untreated plots at a number of Bayer trial sites are extremely yellow.

Greg believes the disease is holding on in Scotland due to temperature, as it has dried up in commercial crops further south.

Interestingly, in trial plots yellow rust has remained into July. Greg notes this includes both h asexual spores but also the sexual stage of the disease present on scar tissues.

The yellow rust in Gleam at Ovington Hall, Essex is down to curtailed spraying operations, and only to those field areas where the wind brought spraying to a halt. It shows that yellow rust is controlled by an appropriate fungicide programme as every other Gleam crop is clean note James Nott.

 

CropCheck in wheat and barley is now closed for the 2022 season. If you are interested in hearing about CropCheck updates, please complete this form.

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June

June Week 4

Leaf layer tested: Top 2 leaves, 2 & 1.

Summary

With June closed late foliar pressure has given way to drought stress in many areas.

Disease wise little has changed over the last seven days. Those varieties that held Septoria tritici or yellow rust in the upper canopy are still doing so. But they are the exceptions and leaves 2 and 1 of most National Snapshot varieties remain in the protectant scenario.

But another dry month is starting to bite and many crops are showing signs of a lack of rainfall.

The south and east have probably borne the brunt and how crops are drying out can be seen with data from Ovington Hall, Essex. Through May and June just 56.6 mm of rain has fallen – less than 1mm per day – but ETO (evapotranspiration) has only dropped below 1.5 mm on three occasions and more readily has been between 3.0 – 4.5 mm.

James Nott is surprised at how well they look but rain is needed soon. A recent soil moisture test recorded a moisture reading of just 3.5%.

After just 10 mm of rain fell during April at G H Hoyles Ltd, Long Sutton, Lincs, Owner David Hoyles and assistant farm manager Henry Richardson considered irrigating some of their wheat. However, 46 mm during May came just in good time and that has been followed by a further 94 mm through June.

Despite above average rainfall for last month, January to June totals remain below the farm five-year average. But it has helped.

But droughted crops are not limited to just the south and east. The variability in weather patterns is resulting in ‘patchy’ crop prospects across many regions.

At Fawley Court, Herefordshire, Mark Wood has recorded just 22 mm of rain for June, May was even less. Extase is holding up reasonably well but the earlier drilled Wolverine isn’t. It is unlikely to be drilled next season.

Go north to Middlebank Farm, Errol, Perthshire, George Taylor and agronomist Ben Lowe expect close to 190 mm between March and June. As June closed there was a 70 mm shortfall – all of the last four months being below average.

Even Aberdeenshire is feeling the strain. At Ellon rainfall for March, April and May has been close to the seasonal average but June has seen just 15.4 mm. Ben notes how crops look often depends on soils. Those in thinner soils or those low in pH where root structure isn’t so developed looking particularly hard hit.

It isn’t just the lack of rainfall but the heat too. According to the Met Office, June temperatures of over 30 °C are rare but for the middle of the month it issued a Level 3 Heat-Health Alert for much of the south and east, with level 2 and 1 alerts issued as latitude increased. Friday, June 17th didn’t top the monthly record of 35.6 °C at Southampton Mayflower Park in 1976 but in many areas it got close.

Project lead Greg Hanna says heat not only dries wheat out but causes physiological stress. “Every 1°C long term increase above a mean temperature of 23°C decreases wheat yield by ~10%. While some of us enjoy a heat wave a consistent warm spell is bad news for crop potential as photosynthetic efficiency declines rapidly in temps above 30°C. There is considerable genetic variability in heat tolerance, hence breeders matching varieties to climate.”

It does raise the prospect of wheat irrigation becoming the norm. G H Hoyles isn’t the only East Anglian enterprise to trial wheat irrigation, Mike Wilton of the Stody Estate, Norfolk has does similar.

Wheat irrigation comes at a cost, and the trials have been limited in scale. It would be good to hear from others who have done similar to increase the data pool – please contact your local Bayer Commercial Technical Manager if you are happy to share data.

Septoria tritici:

It is very much as was.

It is still Dawsum (6.1) and Skyscraper (4.6) at Halfhead Farm, Stone and Gravity (4.6) and Graham (6.4) at Talehead Farm, Ottery St Mary, Devon, being the two sites where Septoria tritici pressure remains high.

Septoria tritici infection hasn’t built in leaves 2 and 1 but it hasn’t receded either. Fortunately, leaf 1 in Graham and Skyscraper remain in the green protective phase and Dawsum is just outside with a CropCheck score of 24. All were drilled ahead of mid-October which is likely to be a factor.

Aside from these two sites all else is green and in the protectant scenario.

Yellow rust:

Again, no change from the previous week. It is still Spotlight (5) from Middlebank Farm, Errol, Perthshire and Gleam (5) at Ovington Hall, Essex, that are still troubled by yellow rust.

The yellow rust in Gleam is down to curtailed spraying operations, and only to those field areas where the wind brought spraying to a halt.

Spotlight is more puzzling as it is established in the upper canopy, and a strob was included in both the T1 and T2 mixtures. It is likely that re-infection is the cause, although strobs are effective they aren’t particularly persistent.

It is worth noting that on a trip to the Bayer/SRUC trial site at Boghall, Edinburgh, on Monday 27th, Grant Reid observed the disease had continued to sporulate with black pycnidia visible on leaves where rust has been.

Greg notes this is the late sexual stage of the disease reproductive cycle and is where genetic recombination is potentially possible between YR strains/races. Given that the disease is still around so late in the season it presents a possible risk next season. “It will be important not to give it a green bridge to infect following crops in these or nearby fields. Ensuring any volunteers are controlled early will help mitigate the risk,” he says.

As expected, some untreated plots at Bohall are looking particularly yellow, and there are clear differences in treated plots too. The good news is plots treated with mixtures delivering over 150g of prothioconazole are standing up well.

 

June Week 3

Leaf layer tested: Top 2 leaves, 2 & 1.

Summary

The disease progression of a week ago has failed to materialise as we pass the Summer Solstice.

At most sites, has dried out with leaf 2 and 1 scores firmly in the protectant scenario. The exception is Tiverton St Mary, Devon where Gravity and Graham are under pressure.

The same is true of yellow rust. At those location where we saw a build-up of the disease through May and June has now receded. But again, we have an exception. This being Spotlight in Perthshire, where the disease is holding firm.

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Septoria tritici:

In all cases except one, the top two leaves are all in the protectant scenario. It is no surprise that leaf 2 CropCheck scores are a little higher but only gleam at Cocked Hat Farm, Thirsk is at the higher end of the green scale.

That exception is Taleford Farm, Ottery St Mary, Devon. Here, both Gravity (4.6) and Graham (6.4) are still under pressure.

It could be expected with early drilled Gravity, where leaves 2 and 1 have CropCheck scores in the 90s, the established latent infection category.

But the surprise is Graham (6.4). It was also drilled in early October but given its resilience the Septoria tritici infection in leaf 2 is marked. However, the good news is leaf 1 is still firmly in the protect scenario.

Visual symptoms reflect its CropCheck score and South West region commercial technical manager Matt Siggs is a little surprised with the look of it.

Some environmental factors are possible as he believes with the drought of March and April it tried to grow a bit faster. This was compounded with some serious rain events during May, when temperatures were more favourable. He notes that in a shaded part of the field Graham looks a little healthier.

But he also questions whether the loss of CTL is a factor and what that might mean for disease control programmes going forward “CTL’s protective properties helped carry a crop between GS32 and GS39, even when favourable Septoria tritici conditions existed. It could mean that when warm, wet weather persists between leaf 3 and flag leaf emergence an interim spray might be needed to fully protect leaves 3 and 2.”

Improved leaf 2 protection might be rewarded with improved yields he believes. He notes that with some varieties leaf 2 is of considerable size and clearly helping plant photosynthesis.

Going forward could mean a move away from the established four sprays based on leaf emergence to a more flexible approach. Matt can see some sense in that. ““It could be that we need to apply fungicides to clean leaves where latent infection is at an early stage, it is logical that applying fungicides over short intervals will preserve green leaf area for longer.

“Services like CropCheck are useful in measuring latent infection before symptoms express and helping growers and agronomists adapt fungicide decisions accordingly. If we move to a more prescriptive approach then a service like CropCheck would be essential and it is good to be involved in this pioneering project.”

Regardless of disease control strategy, he points out any application targeting leaf 3 needs the right azole + SDHI combination with CTL withdrawn. “CTL bolstered any azole + SDHI combination and with it no longer permitted the vulnerability of some actives is possibly being seen. Yellow rust and stem-based complex protection is often needed at this time of the season so the need for an azole + SDHI combination that delivers robust Septoria tritici protection with broad-spectrum activity is paramount and, in my view, there is no better option than Ascra (prothioconazole + bixafen + fluopyram).”

Case for a T4?

Project lead Greg Hanna thinks the high temperatures of last week have helped dry late yellow rust but have favoured Septoria tritici, especially when combined with some heavy downpours.

He believes Septoria tritici is now too far behind in the majority of crops to impair grain fill, with the rain giving them a decent drink, but he suggests growers should remain vigilant. “For earlier drilled or more susceptible varieties the disease might make it to the upper canopy and reduce green leaf retention. In such cases a T4 might be useful to prolong green leaf area should crops be exposed to further periods of wet weather.

“If it includes an SDHI like bixafen then this might also help mobilise any N locked up in leaf tissue in addition to topping up disease control and extending green leaf retention.”

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Yellow rust:

Look back over previous updates and usually Spotlight (5) from Middlebank Farm, Errol, Perthshire is in there, and so it remains with a high CropCheck score for leaf 1.

Despite yellow rust being found in just one variety it is still posing questions. The key one being why visual symptoms are not being seen. Agronomist Ben Lowe notes that just because it hasn’t expressed so far it doesn’t mean the disease isn’t there. He is planning to keep a close eye on it.

At Ovington hall, Essex there is still a bit of yellow rust in Gleam (5). This is down to the wind curtailing T3 sprays, the last 15ha being delayed. James Nott notes the disease has been particularly aggressive this season but with most applications spot on timing wise, the disease has been well controlled.

A bigger concern is the lack of rainfall and high temperatures, although a number of southern counties saw some significant storms over the weekend.

For southern areas another heatwave is forecast. Let’s hope it is short and doesn’t sap the potential out of many promising looking crops right now.

 

June Week 2

Leaf layer tested: Top 3 leaves, 3, 2 & 1.

 

Summary

A week of mainly fine weather has seen some disease progression, but not the widespread explosion we saw last season.

The Septoria tritici situation isn’t that much different to the first week of June. The disease has built in leaves 3 and 2 but apart from a couple of examples it isn’t at levels that will cause concern. Flag leaf scores for all varieties remain in the protectant scenario except for a very early drilled field of Dawsum.  

Yellow rust hasn’t dried out despite fine, dry weather in most regions. Some increase in pressure being observed and the disease now found in Hampshire.

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Septoria tritici:

CropCheck scores are largely unchanged from the first week of June and generally leaves 2 and 1 are clean.

The only exceptions are Dawsum (6.1) and Skyscraper (4.6) at Halfhead Farm, Stone, Staffs. The leaf 2 infection recorded last week in Dawsum has built further and it now has a CropCheck score of 28. More worryingly it has jumped to leaf 1. Both leaves are in the early infection phase and it will be interesting to see how this develops over the next seven days.

Skyscraper has seen an even more dramatic shift. Septoria tritici has also moved up from leaf 3 and with a CropCheck score of 83, leaf 2 is well in the established latent infection phase. Fortunately, the disease hasn’t reached the flag leaf.

With both drilled on September 15th it clearly is a factor but proprietor Roger Hopley had the misfortune of a compromise with T2 sprays. Both crops reached GS39 a week earlier than expected and this coincided with a period of showery and windy weather. “Even when it was dry, the wind meant we couldn’t get on. Our T2 applications were seven days later than I would have liked.”

Sprayers ‘grounded’ due to windy weather appears to be an increasing occurrence. Leading spray operators Matt Redman and Iain Robertson believe the number of days with high winds is increasing. The Met Office only has reliable data from the late 1960s, and this is limited, so suggest caution when interpreting results. However, UKCP (United Kingdom Climate Projections) data indicates surface wind speeds to increase in the UK during this century.

The good news is that both Dawsum and Skyscraper look full of potential, as do many National Snapshot crops. At Halfhead Farm there has just been enough rain at the right time to keep crops going. Roger is keeping his fingers crossed for sufficient sunlight through June and July allowing crops to optimise that potential.

It is his first season with Dawsum and he is keen to see if claims about high yield combined with good specific weight will be substantiated. We’ll put the results on 365 when the fields are harvested.

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Yellow rust:

Yellow rust has spread further south and is now in Skyfall (3) at Malshanger Estate, Hampshire.

To see the disease in Skyfall probably isn’t a surprise to anyone and it has established latent infection in leaves 2 and 1. But it is slightly surprising to see how quickly the disease has come in – yellow rust is a disease that cycles particularly quickly in favourable conditions but at the start of the month there was no sign of it.

This reflects what is being seen elsewhere, a late escalation in yellow rust infection. The disease has advanced in Gleam (5) at Ovington Hall, Essex. It has spread from leaf 4 to leaves 3 and 2 – both are in the established latent infection category. Spotlight (5) is still suffering at Middlebank farm, Errol, Perthshire – the top three leaves all with high CropCheck scores.

Spotlight isn’t the most resilient variety on the list but this result could indicate some breakdown of gene resistance. The variety is also looking overrun at some trial sites, needing good yellow rust actives at T1 and T2 to hold the disease.

Another variety looking troubled is Extase (8), the disease being picked up in CropCheck scores as early as the 2nd week of March. Now too it is looking very yellow in untreated plots at our Long Sutton, Lincolnshire, trials site. Interestingly, when Extase was in candidate trials it showed good resistance to all isolates apart from 19/215.

Project lead says it is too early to say but it does show another benefit of the CropCheck. “Ultimately CropCheck is there to provide another layer of information, which farmers and agronomists can factor in with varietal rating, drilling date, weather and site fertility to support fungicide decisions. When CropCheck results highlighted latent yellow rust in leaf 2 ahead of T2 applications many growers and agronomists added some tebuconazole to counter the threat.

It also could prove useful in highlighting the circulation of isolates more tolerant to resistance genes or less sensitive to fungicides,” he notes.

 

June Week 1

Leaf layer tested: Top 3 leaves, 3, 2 & 1.

Summary

The fortunes of our two key wheat diseases have turned around over the last two seasons.

Go back to June 21 and it was Septoria tritici that came in late, this season it is yellow rust. Established latent Septoria tritici infection isn’t being detected in leaves 2 or 1 of National Snapshot partner crops, but yellow rust is.

Where it is the disease has come in quickly, overrunning susceptible varieties like Spotlight. It is too early to say what the cause is but some possible changes with the pathogen is possible or shift in varietal resistance.

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Septoria tritici:

Clean upper canopy

Despite similar weather patterns to last season, leaves 2 and 1 currently are not under the same Septoria tritici pressure as we saw in the first weeks of June 21.

Only one variety has leaf 2 infection outside of the protectant scenario – CropCheck scores 1 – 20 - and this is Dawsum (6.1) at Halfhead Farm, Stone, Staffs. Leaf 2 is in the early-stage infection with a score of CropCheck score of 32, probably spreading from leaf 3 as it has carried high infection for the latter half of May. It isn’t much of a surprise given a drilling date of mid-September and low rating for the disease.

But the difference in varietal rating and drilling date can still be seen in leaf 2 scores. Leaf 2 of Spotlight (4.9) at Middlebank Farm, Keillor Farm, Perthshire has a Cropcheck score of 8. A few miles away later drilled Illuminate (5.4) at Keillor Farm has a Cropcheck score of 1, its drilling date possibly helping. Both are still low scores, the 8 probably reflects some spores that have landed but their germination may have been inhibited by the T2 fungicide application.

Leaf 3 infection remains high in some early drilled, susceptible varieties, notably Skyscraper (5.1), again at Halfhead Farm and Scoughall Farm, Lothian. As it does on leaf 4 with a number of varieties – only to be expected for this point in the season. 

Septoria tritici is now visible on leaf 4 of Wolverine (5.3) at Fawley Court. It has also continued to build in leaf 4 of Extase at Ovington Hall, Sudbury, Essex. Although close to 200 miles apart the connection between the two is their September drilling dates.

Varietal resilience evident

Greg notes that it is generally the earlier drilled and more susceptible varieties that are carrying higher infection.

Some of those varieties that carried high infection earlier in the season are in fine fettle now. Leaves 2 and 1 of Extase (7.1) at Fawley Court, Herefordshire have CropCheck scores of just 1. It carried high leaf 4 infection for much of April and this transferred to leaf 3. Leaf 4 infection remains high and there has been no great change in leaf 3 scores.

Graham (6.4) at Cocked Hat Farm, Thirsk, North Yorkshire is also showing its resilience against the disease. Leaves 3, 2 and 1 are all clean with CropCheck scores of 1, despite leaf 4 being in the established infection phase during much of May.

Project lead Greg Hanna thinks various factors are at play when it comes to the differences between last season and this. One is the weather, as many areas haven’t seen the same intensity when showers have arrived. But another is that many T1s were well-timed and the gap to T2 didn’t get as stretched as spring 21. For him it is another reminder that the more growers can do to keep intervals tight, the better off they will be. “In most cases, Septoria tritici hasn’t got away from us this season as it did last, and nor has yellow rust. Well-timed T1 sprays with a strong yellow rust protectant have clearly helped crops through to the T2.”

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Yellow rust:

In contrast to Septoria tritici, yellow rust pressure has built late on. Most leaf 2 and leaf 1 CropCheck are in the protectant scenario, but the fragility of some varieties is evident.

The disease has quickly spread from leaf 5 of Spotlight (5) at Middlebank Farm, Perthshire with the top three leaves all having high CropCheck scores – the disease very much in the established latent infection phase.

This mirrors a number of Spotlight plots at the SRUC trial site a little further south at Boghall, Lothian, untreated Spotlight being yellow from top to bottom. Also, some treated plots don’t look that healthy – Septoria tritici might have been checked but yellow rust hasn’t.

Some questions have been raised about a possible fall in the Septoria tritici resilience of Extase (8) and similar questions might be asked regarding yellow rust too. At Fawley Court the disease is on leaf 2 of this, until now, resilient variety, that too being in the established latent infection phase. It has also turned up in Gleam (5) at Ovington Hall, although it isn’t present on leaves 3 – 1.

It is still puzzling Greg who notes the disease has come in with those crops that established well – that goes against ‘the norm’, as does the disease being active so late in the season.

Greg does point to ideal May temperatures. “The provisional UK mean temperature was 11.8 °C. 12 °C is pretty well perfect for yellow rust as it likes temperatures of 10-15 °C.”

But that doesn’t explain everything. He suspects that drought stress is also a potential factor – increased susceptibility through limited energy to trigger host defence mechanisms.

Greg ponders what rating varieties like Skyfall (3) and Spotlight will get next season, if they make the list at all.

Regardless, he feels growers wanting to stick with both will have to factor in a T1.5 holding spray given the disease cycles so quickly. “In the right conditions, yellow rust can complete its latent phase in half the time of Septoria tritici, which is what our T1 – T2 intervals are based on. In such conditions growers might need a holding spray.”

He stresses the disease is still well controlled by fungicides. “Where commercial crops have been managed well, the disease isn’t necessarily a problem. What we are seeing in our trials is that where we have high pressure scenarios the prothioconazole loading at T1 is a key factor in bridging the gap to T2. Products and mixtures applied at rates delivering over 150g of prothioconazole have shown excellent performance, even in highly susceptible varieties under high disease pressure,” he notes.

The continued performance of Ascra (prothioconazole + bixafen + fluopyram) is good news. “Yellow rust control could be more challenging with the loss of tebuconazole, and growers might need to rely more on varietal resilience. But Ascra is clearly a very good yellow rust protectant coupled with strong Septoria activity. There isn’t a better fungicide choice when it comes to the most important winter wheat foliar threats,” he concludes.

 

 

 

 

 

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May

May Week 4

Leaf layer tested: Top 3 leaves, 3, 2 & 1.

Summary

Despite further unsettled weather in many areas, there is little change in Septoria tritici and yellow rust pressure for our National Snapshot partner crops.

Leaf 1 is out with every variety and in every case, Septoria tritici scores are in the protectant scenario. The same applies to leaf 2, regardless of variety or drilling date it is also clean.

It is a similar picture with yellow rust, except for three examples, one of which is Skyfall.

 

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Septoria tritici:

Crops Race From GS37 To GS55 And Beyond

Many National Snapshot varieties have raced through growth stages presenting disease control challenges for our partner farmers.

After another dry April, May has been more unsettled and that is being felt as crops head towards grain fill.  With bouts or rain interspersed with warm weather, and crops picking up fertiliser, crops have raced on with some moving from GS37 to GS55-60 quickly. It has impacted some T2 applications and is likely to do so where they are still to be applied.

This was the case at Fawley Court, Herefordshire, where manager Mark Wood noted crops moving quickly from flag leaf emergence to booting, as a result some T2s were a little later than desired.

He is starting to turn his attention to T3 sprays and he points out Bayer has some good options, including an SDHI if needed.

But the good news is that leaves 2 and 1 are all in the protective phase with all National Snapshot varieties, and this includes those varieties that have carried high leaf 3 infection throughout much of the month. Where high leaf 3 infection remains – scores of 51 + and in the established latent infection phase – it is invariably those varieties with lower RL ratings or those drilled ahead of mid-October.

Project lead Greg Hanna cautions growers to remain vigilant. He notes where crops have raced through growth stages, leaf 2 will have been out for longer than anticipated. It could create a reservoir for disease should favourable conditions continue.

 

Wheat T2 Sprays Included On Extensive Scottish ‘To Do’ Lists

Further north and many T2s are still to go on. The conditions have been more showery with Middlebank Farm agronomist Ben Lowe noting downpours coming out of nowhere. The wind hasn’t helped either. “Spray work has been more of an opportunist’s game this week with the early operators sneaking a tank load on before the wind has got up,” he states.

For Scottish spray operators, it is a frenetic time of the year. Sprayer workloads are at their peak at this time of year with spring barley T1’s, winter wheat T2’s running alongside follow-up OSR flowering sprays and potato pre-emergence sprays. Spring barley has been growing so quickly that manganese deficiency has been more obvious than ever.

Ben notes care needs to be taken when planning the order of jobs. “Obviously with some crops moving very quickly our hands are forced and some extra sprayer washouts are required before moving between crops.”

CropCheck Value Comes To The Fore

Greg says this encompasses exactly what CropCheck is all about. “Rapid qPCR testing provides another layer of information to combine with weather data, variety rating, drilling date and soil fertility. It helps growers and agronomists prioritise where the sprayer needs to go and when, an asset in keeping all crops in a protective position.

“With strong grain prices growers will be happy to invest in disease control programmes but we need to use any fungicide appropriately. CropCheck scores will help tailor product and rate to provide the ideal level of protection and return on investment.”

With leaves 2 and 1 of Spotlight (4.9) still in a protective phase, Ben is hopeful the weather will allow for T2 sprays to be applied in good time. He notes forward wheats are passing T2 timing now with some crops booting. “The majority of crops are just hitting the right timing now so if the weather improves next week, we will hit it right in Scotland,” he adds.

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Yellow rust:

We have high upper canopy yellow rust infection at just three sites

The disease is hanging on in Cranium (8) at Folkingham Farms, Sleaford. Leaf 2 remains in the established latent infection phase with a CropCheck score of 100 – meaning the disease is visible. But leaf 1 is clean with a CropCheck score of 1.

Nearby at Holbeach St Marks, Lincolnshire, the disease is visible in the top three leaves of Skyfall (3), each having a CropCheck score of 100. Leaf 1 of Spotlight (5) at Middlebank Farm, Errol, Perthshire also has the same score.

Elsewhere there is the odd variety with some infection in leaf 4 or 3, but generally the upper canopy of most varieties is in the protectant phase.

Greg wonders if something is afoot with the disease. He notes yellow rust hasn’t developed the way we would typically expect, It has come in late this season and he has seen it in varieties he wouldn’t expect to see it in. “Well timed T1s have protected leaf 3 but we are seeing the disease in leaf 2. Crops have gone through growth stages quickly and leaf 2 has been out for longer than usual, quickly out after leaf 3. t has created a reservoir for the disease to potentially move up or down the canopy.

“There is also the possibility that we might have seen a change with the pathogen. Have we a strain that is cycling outside typical temperature ranges or perhaps some disease populations with an increased virulence. Time will tell but the disease has a habit or surprising us,” he concludes.

 

May Week 3

Leaf layer tested: Top 3 leaves. Either leaves 4, 3 & 2 or 3, 2 & 1.

Summary

It remains a settled situation despite some unsettled weather during the middle of the month.

But with T2 sprays on or about to go on, the good news is that apart from one variety, leaves 2 and 1 have CropCheck scores between 1 – 16, the protectant scenario. The number of varieties with leaf 3 infection has increased by just two.

Yellow rust scores are almost an exact mirror. Just one variety has established infection in the upper canopy.

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Septoria tritici:

Leaf 3 Infection Still Low Despite Warm And Humid Week

Despite leaf 3 now being out for some time, Septoria tritici is present in leaf 3 of just two more varieties. 

At Halfhead Farm, Stone, Staffordshire, Dawsum (6.1) has joined Skyscraper (4.6) with a CropCheck score of 100, meaning the disease is visible on the leaf. The exact same has happened at Fawley Court, Herefordshire, with Extase (7.3) also having the same CropCheck score of Wolverine (5.3).  The disease is visible on the leaf too.

That is just 7 out of 26 fields being monitored, and the number of sites is just five. Rain events are probably a factor, but so too is variety rating and drilling date. In the vast majority of cases, high leaf 3 Septoria tritici scores are coming from susceptible varieties or those drilled early.

This is generally where project lead Greg Hanna expects CropCheck scores to be with early drilled or susceptible varieties carrying higher infection.

The only exception is Extase at Fawley Court, Herefordshire. Field reports echo its CropCheck score and some have questioned whether it has slipped a little. Greg thinks this is a possibility.

“There is a partnership when it comes to fungicides and resistance. Varietal resilience helps to protect the available chemistry and the available chemistry helps to protect the varieties. In the case of Extase it is possible that its varietal resilience has been leant on a little too hard in previous seasons when paired with lower input fungicide programmes and perhaps the disease has had a chance to circumvent some of the genetics. Though it is still too early to tell if this will pull through to flag leaves or impact yield returns.”

But leaf 2 is clean and in the protectant scenario with a CropCheck score of 4. Indicating that the T2 will be applied in optimum conditions, so the T1 has realistically done what was required of it, giving a firebreak and preventing the disease from applying any undue pressure to the T2 chemistry through early Leaf 2 infection.

CropCheck Highlights Management Differences Based On Rating And Drilling Date

Wolverine at Fawley Court is the best example of the increased risk early drilling and varietal susceptibility presents. Environmental considerations restrict manager Mark Wood’s ability to hold off drilling.

Its leaf 2 CropCheck score is identical to leaf 3 – with a one-year rating of 5.3 and a September drilling date it is no surprise.

A number of showers haven’t helped, although notes these haven’t delivered a great quantity of precious water. He likes its BYDV resistance but accepts its disease susceptibility means it needs managing.

Head close to 200 miles east where soil runoff is less of a concern at the value of delayed drilling is very evident. At Troston Farms, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, Astronomer (6.2) and Skyscraper were both drilled in mid-October. Neither can be considered that resilient against Septoria tritici but leaves 3 and 2 of both are clean. Leaf 4 of higher rated Astronomer is also in a protectant scenario, but even Skyscraper isn’t in the established latent infection category.

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Yellow rust:

Despite ongoing field observations when it comes to yellow rust it isn’t being reflected in CropCheck scores.

Only Cranium at Folkingham Farms has a high CropCheck score in leaves 2 and 1. With a rating of 8 rating for the disease and being several miles from the North Sea it is slightly odd. But we have seen sudden changes with the pathogen in the past which have impacted varietal resilience.

Agronomist jack Richardson feels it is a combination of micro-climate and stress. He notes the field is the end of a sand band and the crop is under some drought stress.

He also doesn’t dismiss the possibility of some race change. It is too early to say but Greg cautions we’ve seen sudden shifts before and he has noted some interesting field observations. “We saw two seasons back yellow rust break out in varieties we didn’t expect to see it in, and we are seeing the same again this season. At some of our trial sites the disease levels in untreated plots don’t fully reflect variety RL ratings. It will be interesting to see how things develop.”

May Week 2

Leaf layer tested: Top 3 leaves. Either Leaves 5,4 & 3 or Leaf 4, 3 & 2.

Summary

As we move to the middle of May, there has been little change in the National Snapshot picture.

Leaf 3 infection has been found in two more varieties, bringing the total to five. Again, it is no real surprise as all have September drilling dates except one. The good news is that currently leaf 2 is still very much in the protectant phase for all National Snapshot varieties, as is leaf 3 at many sites.

The last two weeks has seen favourable yellow rust conditions in many areas, and the disease is being widely reported. But more good news is that currently no infection is being found in the upper canopy.

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Septoria tritici:

Leaf 3 Infection Generally Low Across National Snapshot Partner Farms

Spotlight (4.9) at Middlebank Farm, Errol, Perthshire and Gleam (6.1) at Folkingham Farms, Sleaford, Lincs have joined a small list of National Snapshot varieties with leaf 3 infection.

Spotlight has visual symptoms, earning it a CropCheck score of 100. There is also a tiny amount of Septoria tritici DNA in leaf 2, but it is very much in the protectant phase. It is most likely that this is due to spores from the leaf below.

Spotlight shares the same high leaf 3 CropCheck scores and visual symptoms found with Gravity (4.6) at Talehead Farm, Devon, Skyscraper (4.6) at Halfhead Farm, Stone, Staffordshire and Wolverine (5.7) at Fawley Court, Herefordshire last week. It also shares the same early drilling date. Only one has an October drilling date and that was the first day of the month, and with all rated below 6.0, none can be described as particularly resilient.

Leaf 3 of Gleam is in the early-stage infection phase with a CropCheck score of 32. A timely T2 fungicide application should help protect leaf 2, which currently is clean.

The results are further evidence of the sustained threat varietal susceptibility and drilling date pose. Where leaf 3 is in the protective scenario it is generally where drilling has been delayed or the variety has a good degree of resilience.

Adapting Rate To Meet Leaf 2 Pressure

The question now is the level of leaf 2 infection as crops reach GS37.

Currently, leaf 2 infection is low. With a mainly settled forecast and well-timed T1 applications, there is every chance that Septoria tritici will be suppressed from spreading higher in the canopy. This will offer a degree of flexibility with T2 product choices and rates.

But for those varieties with high leaf 3 infection scores, the risk of transfer to leaf 2 and then the flag leaf is clearly greater. Should that occur then higher rates and the curative activity of SDHI chemistry will be of benefit. But no fungicide is a ‘silver bullet’ and cannot fully rectify firmly established Septoria tritici notes project lead Greg Hanna. “It means higher fungicide rates and cost, and ultimately reduced return on fungicide investment,” he cautions.

At Fawley Court, Herefordshire, manager Mark Wood has little choice but to use higher T2 rates with Wolverine.

Like many with hilly terrain, environmental considerations impact the ability to delay drilling. High leaf 3 infection means it will get a 1.5 l/ha of Univoq + 1.0 l/ha Arizona (folpet) mix. Extase is in much better shape. It too will get the same combination but with Univoq also at 1.0 l/ha.

Mark will most likely close the programme with a prothioconazole based ear spray. This could be straight Proline275 (prothioconazole), Prosaro (prothioconazole + tebuconazole) and with Univoq at T2 it does free up Aviator (prothioconazole + bixafen) for this timing if Mark requires stronger foliar activity.

Project lead Greg Hanna points out there are clear performance differences between Bayer formulated prothioconazole based T3 options and generic products and mixtures. Trials with Nottingham University showed better Septoria and yellow rust control with Proline275.

University associate professor Stephen Rossall, who conducted the research, feels this has to be down to formulation. He concluded that with the same amount of active ingredient for all the products tested, better protective and curative performance can have only have come from the formulation allowing the active to get into the plant and pathogen more effectively.

This mirrors research with SSAU, FERA and AICC looking at T3 disease control. Proline275, Prosaro and Aviator all offered better foliar and ear coverage than alternative T3 options, leading to increased control levels of both foliar and ear disease. Building in prothioconazole throughout the programme has also shown to be key to reducing the level of DON mycotoxins present in grain samples.

According to James Nott at Ovington Hall, Essex Extase is also in good shape with plenty of potential. He wonders if its European heritage makes it more suited to drier conditions as it has coped well with the lack of rainfall on the Suffolk/Essex border. But more rainfall is needed soon as he says there is nothing underneath them.

He also considers Aviator as a strong T3 option should last season foliar pressure develop but it is too early to say whether additional foliar suppression will be needed. Proline275 or Prosaro might be more appropriate options if the focus is firmly on the Fusarium complex.

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Yellow rust:

A sudden flurry of yellow rust reports has emerged, and the disease is visible in a number of varieties in untreated trial plots but all leaf 3 and 2 results are in the protective scenario.

We have also seen the disease recede in leaves 5 and 4 of Spotlight (5) at Middlebank Farm, Perthshire and Gleam (5) at Folkingham, Sleaford, Lincolnshire. But that may not be representative of what is happening more widely, notes Greg.

He also urges growers to be vigilant. “It is a disease that can move quickly so even though we are later in the season I wouldn’t take anything for granted.”

 

May Week 1 

Leaf layer tested: Top 3 leaves. Either Leaves 5,4 & 3 or Leaf 4, 3 & 2.

Summary

The first signs of the impact of varietal resilience and drilling date are being seen in National Snapshot results.

It is still generally protectant picture despite the start of May being unsettled with most areas seeing some rain. Varieties with good Septoria ratings and drilled in in mid-October haven’t seen Septoria tritici infection progress from the plant base to leaf 3. But this has occurred with a few susceptible varieties drilled early.

Yellow rust pressure is pretty much how it has been all season. The only infection seen this week is on Spotlight and Gleam but this is no higher than leaf 4.

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Septoria tritici:

Leaf 3 Protective Phase Holding For Most Varieties

After some unsettled weather for the first week of May we have seen a small increase in the number of varieties with leaf 3 infection. But for the majority of varieties in the National Snapshot programme are returning results in the protectant scenario with CropCheck scores of 1 – 20.

The disease is still present in the base of crops. In all but one case – Graham (6.4) at Long Sutton, Lincolnshire - leaf 5 infection is in the established latent infection phase. Cranium (5.7) is also looking clean at Long Sutton, a drilling date of December clearly helping.

Leaf 4 infections are almost an equal split of those with established latent infection and those still in the protect scenario. For varieties carrying high leaf 4 infection scores, the vast majority were drilled ahead of mid-October. Of those in the protectant phase, only Gleam (5.5) at Cocked Hat Farm, Sowerby, North Yorkshire has a mid-October drilling date.

Comprehensive Signs Of Drilling Date And Varietal Resilience

The risk with early drilling combined with varietal susceptibility is now becoming evident. The early-stage infection found in leaf 3 Gravity (4.6) last week at Talehead Farm, Devon, has continued to build and it has moved to established latent infection with a CropCheck score of 100. The level of latent infection also confirmed by visual symptoms.

It has been joined by Skyscraper (4.6) at Halfhead Farm, Stone, Staffordshire and Wolverine (5.7) at Fawley Court, Herefordshire. Both have the same leaf 3 scores of 100, and the same for leaf 4. Again, symptoms are visual.

It probably isn’t a surprise. The link between all three is drilling date with and varietal susceptibility. All were drilled well ahead of mid-October and with varietal ratings all below 6.0.

Where a leaf layer has an established latent infection fungicide performance and ROI for this leaf layer will be more limited notes project lead Greg Hanna. “The importance of this will vary dependant on the leaf layer tested and the target leaf layer(s) for the next fungicide input.

“For example, a crop with an established latent infection in leaf 4 ahead of a T2 would be of minimal concern at this point. However, if established latent infection is present in leaf 2 by the T2 timing, no fungicide will fully control the disease in this leaf layer. As a result it is likely the flag leaf will come under pressure earlier in the season.”

A good example of the importance of cultural strategies to suppress Septoria tritici developmentis Exatse (7.3) and Gleam at Ovington Hall, Essex. Leaf 4 of Extase is firmly in the established latent infection phase, leaf 4 of Gleam is very much the opposite with a CropCheck score of just 1, despite its lower rating. With an October 18th drilling date, Gleam was drilled 3 weeks later.

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Varietal resilience probably explains why Dawsum (6.1) is a little cleaner than Skyscraper at Halfhead Farm. Both have mid-September drilling dates but Dawsum’s stronger rating means its leaf 3 infection is only just in the early-stage infection phase with a CropCheck score of 24. Our data and observations demonstrate that varietal resilience means the disease takes longer to move though its latent cycle.

Owner Roger Hopley is considering his T2 options, which clearly need to be made quickly. He is looking at a prothioconazole route – the most likely outcome is Ascra (prothioconazole + bixafen + fluopyram) to protect leaves 2 and 1 of Dawsum. But Skyscraper is likely to need some kickback so Univoq (prothioconazole + fenpicoxamid) is the likely path. The latter would free up the use of an SDHI at T3, Aviator (prothioconazole + bixafen) being a suitable choice.

Skyscraper is also at Middlebank Farm, Errol, Perthshire, and here too agronomist Ben Lowe is also thinking of T2 options.

After Ascra was applied at T1 he will probably opt for Univoq with Skyscraper being forward and full of potential. But he says it does pose a conundrum. The infection in the base is evident but the crop is growing away from the disease. He feels the risk of transfer through leaf contact is lower than recent seasons and that rain splash will be needed to spread the disease up the canopy.

 

Patience Needed For Extase Resilience To Show

We are seeing a repeat of what happened last season at Fawley Court, Herefordshire.

For the early part of last season, Extase generated higher CropCheck scores than Wolverine, which rather perplexed manager Mark Wood at the time. And we have seen the same picture this season, even in April Extase carrying higher infection in leaves 5 and 4 than Wolverine.

But with Extase having reached GS32 its resilience appears to have ‘kicked in’ with leaf 3 having a CropCheck score of 1. Its growth is also likely to help it ‘outrun’ the disease.

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Yellow rust:

After a small rise in yellow rust incidence in late April there is no movement up the canopy. All leaf 3 results are in the protective scenario.

There is the odd bit of yellow rust kicking about in leaves 5 and 4, but it is restricted to just Spotlight (5) at Middlebank Farm, Perthshire and Gleam (5) at Folkingham, Sleaford, Lincolnshire.

Next

April

April Week 4

Leaf layer tested: Top 2 leaf layers. Either Leaf 3 & 4 or Leaf 4 & 5.

Summary

It has been busy week for T1 applications across the country and reassuringly Leaf 3, the target leaf layer for this spray, was in a protectant situation for Yellow Rust and Septoria tritici at all but two National Snapshot locations where it has emerged.

However, despite recent dry weather, Septoria was detected in the lower leaf layers at nearly all the National Snapshot locations highlighting the importance of applying a fungicide to protect the newest leaves from disease lurking in the lower part of the crop. Some warm weather and rainfall could easily see this disease transferred to the critical leaf layers without appropriate fungicide applications.

Yellow rust is now present in 5 of the 26 crops tested reminding us of the importance to check your crop for this disease particularly given the recent cool and dry conditions.

Septoria tritici:

Protectant scenario on Leaf 3

Whilst Septoria tritici has been detected on the lower leaf layers at all but three of the National Snapshot locations, this has only transitioned to ‘early stage infection’ in Leaf 3 at one site in Devon so far. At the remaining locations where Leaf 3 has been tested, eight of the sites have Crop Check scores between 4 and 12 indicating that they are still in a protectant scenario but that there are fungal spores present that could germinate if conditions are favourable. Spores are more likely to germinate in warm, wet conditions so recent dry weather will have limited the opportunity for these spores to germinate but with a change in the weather this disease could quickly develop.

Septoria detected on lower leaf layers in September drilled crops

Established latent Septoria tritici is being detected on the second newest leaf layer in nearly all the September drilled crops tested reminding us that drilling date remains one of the most important factors in determining disease levels. Septoria is now visible on Leaf 5 in September drilled Extase at Malshanger Estate in Hampshire highlighting that even the most resistant varieties are more vulnerable when drilled early.

Early stage and established infection detected in Devon

Unsurprisingly, the one National Snapshot field where we have detected Septoria tritici in Leaf 3 is at our South-West site at Taleford Farm, Ottery St Mary in Devon in a crop of Gravity drilled on 1st October with a weak Septoria tritici resistance rating of 4.9. Leaf 3 has a Crop Check score of 24 putting it in the ‘early-stage infection’ category highlighting the need to apply a fungicide urgently to ensure infection does not progress any further on this critical leaf layer.  Leaf 4 has a Crop Check score of 95 indicating that it has established latent infection and is likely past the point of even the most curative fungicide activity.

Yellow rust:

Yellow rust incidence and severity continues to build.

After a clutch of results last week, the disease has now been found in five National Snapshot fields in a range of varieties including, Skyscraper (7), Extase (8), Gravity (6) and Gleam (5). 

This reflects field observations with yellow rust visible in a number of susceptible varieties. At last week’s CropDoctor tour the disease was present at every site, particularly close to The Wash at Long Sutton, Lincolnshire.

Greg says where T1s are still to be applied a strong yellow rust protectant is advisable. “Positive National Snapshot results are being returned from east and west alike, reflecting field reports. A strong Septoria active with good protection against yellow rust is a sound strategy and there isn’t anything better than Ascra (prothioconazole + bixafen + fluopyram), especially as it will protect against the stem-based complex too,” he notes.

 

April Week 3

Leaf layer tested: Primarily leaves 5 and 4, leaf 3 at some sites

Summary:

With temperatures picking up and a fair number of heavy dews, so disease levels are picking up too.

Septoria tritici infection in leaves 5 and 4 has climbed steadily from last week and is widespread.The Septoria tritici found only in Scottish regions last week is now being detected in many English counties.

But yellow rust is also a potential threat in some varieties. This includes Graham, however it is at a site close to The Wash, a yellow rust hot spot.

The disease isn’t as widespread as Septoria tritici, and yellow rust CropCheck scores vary considerably but it is interesting that the disease is in eastern and western regions in equal measure.

Eyespot continues to linger in crops, the disease more widespread than of recent seasons.

Septoria tritici:

With leaves 5 and 4 now exposed for some time, infection has built on a week of warm weather.  

Leaf 5 infections for most varieties and sites are currently in the late-stage infection category with CropCheck scores ranging between 54 – 100, the exception being Cranium (5.7) at Long Sutton, Lincs. It was drilled in December and it probably hasn’t had the same length of exposure as other varieties.

Leaf 5 infection is visible in more than half of our National Snapshot varieties, most notably with Dawsum (6.1) at Halfhead Farm, Stone, Staffordshire and Wolverine at Fawley Court, Herefordshire (5.7) with 41.70 and 21.42% respectively. Both varieties are not particularly resilient to the disease and being September drilled it will reduce their ratings accordingly. 

It is no surprise to see leaf 4 infections ranging more widely. This includes a number of varieties in the protectant scenario, Cropcheck scores of 1 – 20.

But it doesn’t include Extase (7.3) with high CropCheck scores at Malshanger Estate, Hampshire and Fawley Court, perhaps more evidence that plant resistance only ‘kicks in’ as it matures.

Of those varieties with high leaf 4 CropCheck scores the disease is only visible in Skyscraper (4.6) at Halfhead Farm. Again, a September drilling date is a likely factor. Project lead Greg Hanna believes it is behaving more like a 4.

At Fawley Court, Extase is about to get its T1 – a combination of Aviator (prothioconazole + bixafen) with Phoenix (folpet). With its high prothioconazole loading it will guard against eyespot – the one weakness in an otherwise impressive range of disease ratings.

Greg feels with the background threat of Septoria tritici, yellow rust and eyespot in the lower canopy, a well-timed T1 will be important this season. “CropCheck scores, and fieldwalking, are highlighting the broad-spectrum threat crops are facing currently. What will be important this season is to fully protect leaf 3 for an effective firebreak as possible to reduce the pressure at T2.”

“It is always better to apply fungicides preventatively than have to firefight later in the season where the return on investment may not be optimised.”

For good measure, some National Snapshot partners are finding mildew in sheltered field areas and headlands. Greg doesn’t feel it warrants the inclusion of a mildewicide to T1 sprays but it is another reason for a prothioconazole base.

Yellow rust:

For the first time this season we are seeing yellow rust in more than a single variety and site. This includes Wolverine (4) at Fawley Court, Herefordshire. Leaf 4 returning a CropCheck score of 70. It isn’t on leaf 5 but that could be due to the presence of Septoria tritici.

Gleam (5) at Folkenham Farms, Sleaford, Lincolnshire also has the disease in leaf 4. This is in the early-stage infection phase. The disease is also present at another Lincolnshire site, this is Graham (7), at G H Hoyles Ltd, Long Sutton. Like Wolverine this is also in the late-stage infection category with a CropCheck score of 97.

There is also a trace of the disease in leaf 4 of Skyscraper (7) at Halfhead Farm, Stone Staffordshire.

It isn’t a surprise for project lead Greg Hanna. He points out that for much of last week daytime temperature hovered around 15°C. “At this temperature the latency period for yellow rust is around 12 days. But bear in mind that for varieties with a lower resistance rating the latent period could be shorter,” he notes.

Again, he considers it another reason to go with prothioconazole at the T1. “Our best yellow rust protectants are Ascra (prothioconazole + bixafen + fluopyram) and Elatus (prothioconazole + benzovindiflupyr). Elatus has the edge on curative activity but it isn’t as strong against Septoria as Ascra, which is why in the majority of cases Ascra is the better option,” he concludes.

 

April Week 2

Leaf layer tested: Primarily leaves 5 and 4, leaf 3 at some sites

Summary:

With dry weather holding in many areas, Septoria tritici and yellow rust infection in the upper canopy remains low. Apart from a few exceptions, CropCheck scores are all in the protectant scenario.

We’ve added eyespot testing to the National Shapshot programme and our first round of testing reveals the disease is more widespread than in recent seasons. Apart from the South East, eyespot is being found in several varieties within the National Snapshot programme. Both W and R type infections currently being detected.

There is no change in the yellow rust situation. The upper canopy is clean with extremely low CropCheck scores, reflecting observations from the field.

Septoria tritici:

It is only a couple of varieties in Scotland that are carrying troublesome Septoria tritici CropCheck scores.

At Middlebank Farm, Errol, Perthshire the disease is still present in leaves 5 and 4 of Spotlight (4.9). Leaf 5 has a Cropcheck score of 97, leaf 4, 96– late-stage infection.

A little further up the road at Keilor Farm, Septoria tritici has continued to build in Illuminate (5.4). Leaf 5 and 4 now also have CropCheck scores in the 90’s. Many Scottish regions have seen a bit more in the way of rainfall and agronomist Ben Lowe and CTM Grant Reid believe this is the cause.

Elsewhere, regardless of variety rating and drilling date, leaf 4 and 3 CropCheck scores all range in the protectant phase, 1 – 20.

There is still the risk the disease could spread from the base of crops should warm and wet weather arrive ahead of the T1 timing. But we probably need to see a number of rain events for leaf 3 to come under serious threat.

Project lead Greg Hanna suggests growers should remain vigilant but a good preventative T1 should suffice this season. “If leaf 4 remains clean it will reduce the risk of transfer onto leaf 3. But we saw last year how quickly Septoria tritici can take hold in the right conditions, so I wouldn’t ease up in preventative strategies. Firefighting is costly and has limited effect.”

One following that mantra is agronomist Steve Wood. Despite current CropCheck scores, he feels Extase 7.3 at Malshanger estae, Hampshire, is carrying more Septoria tritici this season. January, February and March have been exceptionally mild, and that is probably a factor but there is also the question of whether Extase is losing some of its resilience. However, it was drilled early so it is behaving more like a high 6 than a 7.

Both Steve and Bayer CTM Richard Prankerd expect adult plant resistance to ‘kick in’ at stem-extension, currently leaf 3 is emerging.

The variety responds to fungicides so if the run up to T1 is warm and humid it will get Silvron (prothioconazole + tebuconazole + bixafen + fluopyram), if it is dry Steve will drop back to Skyway (prothioconazole + bixafen +tebuconazole). There is no sign of eyespot in the crop but it has been noted quite widely in the region.

Richard says growers need to be mindful of rates after last season. “We saw some very low T1 rates last year and when the weather turned late foliar disease bubbled up. With resilient varieties like Extase there is some leeway with products and rates but we have to be mindful of what might lie ahead. We also must ensure we apply all fungicides at rates where the mixture partners protect each other.”

Eyespot

Eyespot is present from Scotland through to Herefordshire.

This includes Skyfall (7) at Hay Farming, Holbeach St Marks, Lincoln. Skyfall is understood to carry the Pch1 resistance gene. However, it is a second cereal which is a risk factor.

Although distribution is fairly even between W and R types, DNA/mg figures for W type eyespot infection is significantly higher. This type is generally more visible early in the season and this concurs with reports from our National Snapshot partners. But the R type is also being detected – less visible it can be overlooked warns Greg.

At Scoughall Farm, East Lothian, the disease is visible in Skyscraper (4) and Sandy Dale is looking at a robust dose of prothioconazole at the T1. Last year he went with a prothioconazole-based T1 and that looks likely again this season. It’s also a strong yellow rust option, useful with the number of Sea Haars the farm experiences.

Further north, eyespot is visible in Spotlight (5) at Middlebank Farm, Errol, Perthshire. Agronomist Ben Lowe is also looking at a prothioconazole-based approach, probably Ascra (prothioconazole + bixafen + fluopyram) with Folpet but he will make a final decision nearer the time.

Spotlight will get a tebuconazole T0 to keep yellow rust in check, and with low Septoria tritici CropCheck scores he expects to remain in a preventative position at T1. But GS32 is two weeks away and a lot can change with the Scottish climate.

Yellow rust:

There is still no change in the yellow rust situation, leaves 4 and 3 remain clean of infection. The disease is visible in the base of a number of varieties but cool weather ahead of Easter has helped keep it in check. T0 sprays should also help keep the disease in check until the T1 timing.

 

April Week 1

Leaf layer tested: Primarily leaves 5 and 4

Summary:

With dry weather predominating much of the country, disease pressure remains low on newly emerged leaves. We’re only in the second week of April but is it looking like it could be another dry one.

A week on and leaf 3 is emerging in the most forward varieties. However, November drilled Cranium (5.7) at G H Hoyles, Long Sutton, Lincs is still tillering.

Yellow rust CropCheck scores remain low, although reports of visible disease have increased from the first week of the month.  

Septoria tritici:

Graham (6.4) and Gravity (4.6) at Taleford Farm, Ottery St Mary, Devon, are our most forward National Snapshot varieties. Drilled on October 1st leaf 3 is out and it is no surprise that both carry very low CropCheck scores.

That reflects widely what is happening elsewhere.

At Extase at Malshanger Estate, Hampshire, Leaf 5 has a CropCheck Score of 90 but leaf 4 is just 1. Visual symptoms are still to express on leaf 5, but it is expected given its September drilling date.

The same can be found at J P Clay, Fawley, Herefordshire. Leaf 5 in Extase (7.3) and Wolverine (5.7) are carrying high Septoria tritici infection but leaf 4 is clean. Mark Wood is still weighing up T1 options but some eyespot is visible in Extase, so he is likely to go with a product with a good prothioconazole loading.

Leaves 5 and 4 of Extase at Ovington Hall, Sudbury, Essex are also clean with CropCheck scores of 1. For James Nott, he too has a range of diseases on his radar. Extase’s eyespot rating means it will get Ascra (prothioconazole + bixafen + fluopyram) at the T1 as James wants a robust dose of prothioconazole to check the disease. Gleam and Insitor will follow suit for the same reason.Although yellow rust hasn’t been particularly evident – qPCR results or visual symptoms – crops did get a tebuconazole T0 and with Gleam and Insitor both being rated 5, andadditional activity from Ascraat T1 is welcome. James is considering Univoq at T2, which will widen T3 choices to possibly include an SDHI. With hindsight, he wished he’d have held Aviator (prothioconazole + bixafen) back last season when late Septoria tritici ‘bubbled up’. It’s a logical route where Fusarium and late foliar protection is desired.

The biggest transformation has occurred at Scoughall Farm, East Lothian. Both Saki (5.1) and Skyscraper (4.6) have moved from red to green. Where the previous leaves tested were in a curative scenario for Septoria, Leaf 4 has now emerged and holds a CropCheck score of 1 putting this leaf layer in a protectant scenario.

But we have got Septoria tritici in leaf 4. Gleam (5.5) and Graham at Cocked Hat Farm, Sowerby, North Yorkshire, have CropCheck scores of 28 and 16 respectively. Graham is in a protectant scenario but Gleam is at the early-stage infection phase.Both were drilled in October so it could be that these caught a few more showers. This could also be the explanation for infection in Spotlight (4.9) and Illuminate (5.4) in Perthshire. At Middlebank Farm, rain was recorded for four days running from Sunday 3rd, this and with leaf 4 still to emerge being more probable causes.

Yellow rust:

Leaf 4 has emerged with Saki (8) at Scoughall Farm, East Lothian and its CropCheck score has fallen into line with every variety in the National Snapshot programme. The infection found in leaf 5 during the first week of April has still to express itself and its CropCheck score has fallen considerably too.

Next

March

March Week 4

Leaf layer tested: Leaf 5 and leaf 4 in some cases.

Summary:

As we enter April National Snapshot results remain variable.

Leaf 5 is out with most varieties, and for some leaf 4 is emerging. Where a new leaf layer is out

CropCheck scores are generally low and in the protectant scenario – crops are currently outgrowing the rate of disease progression. 

Higher CropCheck scores is coming from where the leaf layer is variable - a mix of leaf 5 and 4.

As with previous reports, latent yellow rust infection is still low in new leaves, except for Saki at East Lothian.

Septoria tritici:

At Malshanger Estate, Hampshire leaf 5 of Extase (7.3) has emerged and it has a CropCheck score of 1, the protectant scenario.

Many other varieties also have CropCheck scores of 1. This includes Skyscraper at Halfhead Farm, Stone, Staffs and at Troston Farms, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, Gravity (4.6) at Taleford Farm, Ottery St Mary, Devon and Extase (7.3) at J P Clay, Fawley, Herefordshire. At Cocked Hat Farm, Sowerby, North Yorkshire it includes both Graham (6.4) and Gleam (5.5).

But where leaves have been exposed for longer, CropCheck scores remain high. In Herefordhire, Wolverine (5.7) is still in the late-stage infection category, as it is with Saki (5.1) and Skyscraper at Scoughall Farm, East Lothian. In Saki Leaf 5 infection increasing from 70 to 74. For Skyscraper the rise is more dramatic – it has moved from early-stage infection to late and now has a CropCheck score of 95.

Where varieties have a mix of leaf 5 and 4 emerging, crops are in the early-stage infection category with CropCheck scores of 21 – 50.

It is worth noting that the higher CropCheck scores are currently in those varieties drilled early.

Project lead Greg Hanna expects CropCheck score for these varieties to fall as new leaf layers emerge, but he stresses we are still at the ‘observational stage’ and much will depend on the weather over the next few weeks. The mild winter weather could pose a greater risk to earlier drilled crops with a reservoir of overwintered infection.

Yellow rust:

From almost nowhere yellow rust has appeared in Saki (8) at Scoughall Farm, East Lothian. It has a CropCheck score of 95 and Greg expects visual symptoms within the next two weeks.

Is it a sign of things to come? Greg is unsure but says it is one to watch after the recent warm spell. “This has probably helped the disease. Yellow rust can evolve or shift quickly and we know that varietal ratings cannot completely be relied upon.”

He stresses the cold snap as we moved from March to April might check the disease and adult plant resistance has still to fully develop, so it could go the other way. However, a T0 is always a sensible insurance with prone areas or varieties in his view.

Log in next week for a progress update.

 

March Week 3

Leaf layer tested: newest leaf layer

Summary:

As March closes National Snapshot results make for an intriguing picture. The latest results show varying degrees of Septoria tritici severity, which probably reflects the variability in crops currently. Apart from the most vigorous varieties, most are still tillering profusely.

Project lead Greg Hanna says we are probably at the ‘observational’ stage of the season. What he means is that there is a potential threat building but it is too early to say how it will materialise. This is because where a new leaf has emerged CropCheck scores are a little higher than expected and pressure could build with favourable conditions.

The yellow rust situation is unchanged. Although older leaves show some scaring, latent infection isn’t detected in new foliage. 

Septoria tritici:

Despite dry conditions across much of the country of late, Septoria tritici is troubling many varieties.

The new leaf of Graham (6.4) at G H Hoyles Ltd, Long Sutton, Lincs is likely to have emerged as its CropCheck score is down from 96 to 36. That puts it in the early-stage infection category despite the leaf not being out for long. David Hoyles is looking at T0 options. Depending on variety and pressure this could be tebuconazole or Folpet, another option is Firefly (prothioconazole + fluoxastrobin). The T1 choice looks more straightforward as David has earmarked Ascra (prothioconazole + bixafen + fluopyram) for the first key timing.

New leaf infection is also present in Gleam (5.5) at Cocked Hat Farm, Thirsk and Skyfall (5.1) at Malshanger Estate, Hampshire. Gleam also has a CropCheck score of 36, Skyfall a little behind at 28, again early-stage infection.  

Gravity (4.6) at Taleford Farm, Ottery St Mary, Devon is just in the protectant scenario with a CropCheck score of 20. It is still tillering, making leaf identification tricky but it is close to GS30, if not there already.

But at these sites latent infection is hanging on in varieties where the leaf has been out for longer.

Graham still has a CropCheck score of 96 at Devon, as it does at Thirsk. At Malshanger Estate in Hampshire Extase (7.3) now has a CropCheck score of 100.

Elsewhere, Extase at Ovington Hall, Sudbury has also seen a marginal increase in latent infection. Go to the other end of the Kingdom and Illuminate (5.4) at Keillor Farm, Perthshire has also seen its CropCheck score rise – now standing at 93.

Greg says it is too early to predict Septoria tritici severity ahead of GS32 but there is a reservoir there. “Septoria tritici has come through the winter well with the mild weather, and it is now a case of watching and waiting to see what happens over the next few weeks. Typically leaf 4 can be exposed for some time, which is why the firebreak at GS32 (T1) is so important. Warm and humid weather in the first half of April could see pressure continue to build, putting early drilled or susceptible varieties under particular risk,” he says.

Yellow rust:

With most crops between GS25 – 29 no latent yellow rust infection is being detected, reflecting what has been seen throughout the month. But with temperatures building so could the disease.

 

March Week 2

Leaf layer tested: newest leaf layer

Summary:

As we move into the latter stages of March there hasn’t been a significant change in the disease situation since last week. Drier conditions negating any rainsplash threat to new leaves. As a result, emerging leaves are reasonably free of Septoria tritici with CropCheck scores between 1 – 20, the protectant scenario.

The yellow rust situation is unchanged with the latest round of testing finding no latent infection in newly emerged leaves.

Septoria tritici:

Where new leaves are still to emerge, the disease remains at high levels and in some cases continues to build. A tenfold increase in DNA/mg has been observed in Saki (5.1) at Scoughall Farm, East Lothian. Its CropCheck score increasing to 97.

The same can be said for another Scottish site. At Keillor Farm, Perthshire, Illuminate’s (5.4) CropCheck score is up by a further 3 points at 93.

Further south and it is a similar picture, with disease levels high or building where new leaves are still to emerge.

Extase (7.3) at Long Sutton, Lincs, still has a CropCheck score in the mid-90s, at J P Clay, Herefordshire it has dipped by a few points but it is still in the 90s. At Malshanger Estate, Hampshire, Extase has added 4 points to its CropCheck score and currently carrying the highest infection of any National Snapshot site.

Clearly the new leaf is out with Extase at Ovington Hall, Sudbury, Essex. This now has a CropCheck score of 16. It is in the protectant scenario but project lead Greg Hanna suspects some spores have made it onto the leaf.

New leaves are out in Skyfall (5.1) at Strawson Ltd, Bilsthorpe, Nottingham and Hay Farming, Holbeach St Marks, Lincs. Both have seen CropCheck scores fall from 96 to 1.

The crop at Holbeach is a min-tilled second wheat, whilst at Bilsthorpe it is a cultivated first wheat. Bayer CTM Ben Frost believes it will be interesting to see how disease develops between the two. “There is research suggesting that min-tilled crops can face greater yellow rust early pressure through stress or less developed root structure,” he notes.

At the moment there is nothing between them, although the first wheat following spring beans is showing signs of slug grazing.

Yellow rust:

The picture remains the same with yellow rust - no latent yellow rust infection present in leaves being tested. However, Greg sounds a note of caution. “Temperatures are forecast to increase, and likely to be more favourable for spore germination (8-13 °C) and for development (12-15 °C).

“In areas where skies are clear, low night time temperatures could lead to the formation of significant dew, enabling the disease to progress. Equally, some frost would check the disease back,” he says.

 

March Week 1

Leaf layer tested: newest leaf layer

Summary:

It is too early to say whether it is the dry weather from Sunday, March 6th or the lack of exposure with the newest leaf layer but there is a possible change in the fortunes of Septoria tritici.

The wet start to the month has been followed by a week of generally fine and dry weather, which may have prevented the disease from splashing from plant bases to newer leaves. At a number of sites, the newest leaf is clear of latent or visible infection. However, a slight note of caution is that new leaf exposure could be so short that the disease is still to penetrate leaf surfaces.

The yellow rust situation is unchanged with no infection detected.

Septoria tritici:

At Halfhead Farm, Staffordshire the high latent infection previously found in both Dawsum (6.1) and Skyscraper (4.6) has given way to clean new leaves. Both were drilled in mid-September and carried significant infection throughout February.

 North of the border in Perthshire, Spotlight (4.9) has joined Illuminate (5.4) in the protectant scenario with a CropCheck score of below 20. The new leaves of Graham (6.4), and Gleam (5.5) are also free of latent infection at Cocked Hat Farm, Thirsk.

 Crop development is probably the explanation for results from Long Sutton, Lincs. Cranium (5.7) has a CropCheck score of just 8, very much in the protectant scenario. However, Graham is still in the high 90s and very much in the late-stage infection category. Cranium is noted for its fast development to GS32, and this is likely to be the case.

 At J P Clay, Herefordshire both Wolverine (5.7) and Extase (7.3) have CropCheck scores of 96. It isn’t a particular worry for manager Mark Wood who isn’t surprised by the level of infection in plant bases given the warm winter and recent rainfall. His priorities at the moment being a first N application and spring herbicide applications.

 He believes the current position is similar to last season and he will base fungicide choices and rates on the weather during March and April, CropCheck scores, varietal risk and drilling date. “If we have a dry or cold period of weather like last year, levels of disease can reduce by the time of T0 or T1 applications,” he notes.

 CTM Gareth Bubb agrees that it is too early to say on disease severity ahead of T0 and T1 applications but he does give a heads up to a possible stem-based warning. He notes that mildew has been reported following the mild winter and eyespot could threaten.

 He sees drilling date as an equal risk to consecutive cereal. “I think drilling date is a critical factor, and in some areas September drilling is still popular or required. In Herefordshire, the environmental agency is particularly concerned with runoff into the River Wye and farmers are encouraged to get cops in the ground. Favourable weather during March and April could see a threat materialise.

Yellow rust:

As we move into the middle of the month there is still no latent yellow rust infection present in the new leaf layer of any National Snapshot variety.

 

Next

February

 

Late-February

Leaf layer tested: newest leaf layer

Summary:

In a matter of not much more than a week, Septoria tritici is continuing to build in the base of plants. Given the mild weather and some pretty significant rain events, it isn’t a surprise and the picture is pretty consistent across the country.

This contrasts sharply with yellow rust, which isn’t present at any site.

Septoria tritici:

At most sites, we have CropCheck scores in the 50 – 100 range, the late-stage infection category.

This includes resilient varieties like Extase (7.3) and Graham (6.4), and is generally still weighted to those varieties more prone to the disease or drilled earlier. At this stage of the season, it isn’t that alarming but does indicate that should the conditions remain favourable then the disease could spread onto leaves 5 and 4, posing a potential T1 risk. It all depends on rain events and temperature between now and then.

At Taleford Farm, Ottery St Mary, Devon, Graham has the same high CropCheck as Gravity (4.6), both at late-stage infection with 96. CTM Matt Siggs notes Septoria pycnidia is highly visible in the bases of both. These pycnidia will likely have spread spores, resulting in the high latent infection loadings we are seeing in the newest leaf.

At Ovington Hall, Essex both Extase and Gleam (5.5) have similar scores. ‘CTM Ella Crawford says the results show the value of rapid qPCR testing. “Look at the newest leaf layer and it is clean, but clearly latent Septoria is in the leaf.”

But she isn’t concerned at this stage. She would expect to see the disease in the base of the canopy with the mild winter. “Septoria has come through the winter, what’s important now is to see how it progresses. Although the disease is present it doesn’t mean it is guaranteed to move up the canopy as plants develop.”

At Malshanger Estate, Hampshire, Extase and Skyfall (5.1) also have CropCheck scores of 96.  

Again, leaf 6 infection is not a concern at this point of the season for manager Ian Margettes or CTM Richard Prankerd.

Extase is carrying a little more DNA/mg than Skyfall, but it was drilled two weeks earlier – 29th September. Go back 12 months and it the picture was exactly the same, Extase carrying more Septoria tritici than Skyfall. However, both expect adult plant resistance to ‘kick in’ later in the season.

That picture also applies to crop development. All crops have greened up nicely but Extase is already further forward than Skyfall with the first nodes starting to develop. “If we see favourable weather patterns Extase could reach GS32 10 – 12 days ahead of Skyfall,” observes Richard.

North of the border the disease has continued to build in Spotlight (4.9), although Illuminate (5.4) is fairing a little better with a CropCheck score below 20 – a protectant scenario.

But this is likely to change with testing this week. It could be simply that the newest leaf layer hasn’t been out for as long. “It has been fairly mild here but we’ve also had snow, sleet and rain. It will be interesting to see scores for both varieties next week,” notes CTM Grant Reid.

Yellow rust:

No latent yellow rust infection is present in the newest leaf layer of any variety in the National Snapshot programme.

However, vigilance is still needed as rust epidemics can develop quickly, warns project lead Greg Hanna.

 

Mid-February

Leaf layer tested: newest leaf layer

Summary:

As we move towards weekly testing newly emerging leaves are free of Septoria tritici and yellow rust.

Earlier in the month, Septoria tritici was pretty widespread with some CropCheck scores in the 50 – 100 range, late-stage infection. But generally, that was weighted to earlier drilled crops or susceptible varieties.

Septoria tritici:

It was a surprise to find the highest Septoria tritici infection at the mid-point of February at yellow rust hot spot Long Sutton, Lincolnshire. Late September drilled Graham (6.4) delivering a CropCheck score of 100 - late-stage infection - he disease is also visible with leaf surface infection of 2%.

But the newest leaf layer is currently clean and that reflects the picture across all National Snapshot sites.

National Snapshot project lead Greg Hanna isn’t surprised Septoria tritici is present on leaves 7 and 6 given the mild winter. “December’s temperature mean was 1.6 °C above the long-term average, and January was also mild with a mean temperature of 4.7 °C. If favourable conditions persist through March and April the potential for the disease to develop is there.”

Yellow rust:

What has occurred with Septoria tritici with Graham at Long Sutton is mirrored with the yellow rust found in Illuminate (7) at J C McLean, Keillor Farm, Perthshire. The newest leaf layer is free of the disease.

 

Early February

Leaf layer tested: newest leaf layer

Summary:

Reports of Septoria tritici being seen in crops is confirmed with the first round of rapid qPCR testing results just in from NIAB.

The disease is pretty widespread but the level of infection varies considerably with CropCheck scores ranging widely. At this stage of the season, there is no clear pattern emerging but higher Septoria tritici pressure is weighted towards earlier drilled or more susceptible varieties. It is possibly an early indication of the importance of cultural methods as part of an integrated disease control strategy.

Yellow rust has been detected at just one site.

Septoria tritici:

It is perhaps a little surprising but our current highest Septoria tritici infection in yellow rust hot spot Long Sutton, Lincolnshire. Late-September drilled Graham (6.4) has a CropCheck score of 100, late-stage infection. The disease is also visible with leaf surface infection of 2%.

It isn’t a concern for David Hoyles of G H Hoyles Ltd at this stage of the season, and Graham is a firm favourite on the farm. “It has been a consistent performer for us over the last seven years in yield and disease resistance,” he notes.

He is comparing Graham with Cranium (5.7) this season. He considers Cranium’s OWBM resistance useful and it scores well for yellow rust, although he notes it isn’t a difficult disease to control. Although weak against Septoria tritici he expects they can keep on top of it. Cranium was drilled in December and currently no disease is present. It highlights the influence of drilling date on how much disease a crop can carry coming out of winter.

In the west, both Dawsum (6.1) and Skyscraper (4.6) are carrying plenty of Septoria tritici at Halfhead Farm, Staffordshire. It is probably no surprise given that both were drilled in mid-September. But grass leys are a good break and Roger has a sizeable area, helping dilute various threats and ease resource pressure.

It’s Roger’s first season with Dawsum and he is keen to see how its superior Septoria tritici rating stands up over Skyscraper. He’s also interested to see if claims about high yield combined with good specific weight will be substantiated.

But we do have Septoria tritici in two October drilled crops. One is Gleam (5.5) at Ovington Hall, Essex. This is at a surprisingly high level, generating a CropCheck score of 98.

It is puzzling farmer James Nott and CTM Ella Crawford. Gleam is a variety known for its tillering potential and energy going into this than fending off disease might be a factor.

He has put a bigger area of Extase (7.3) in the ground this season. James jokes that it is a variety that lets him sleep at night and its resilience might already be showing. Although drilled in September it is carrying less disease. Even in the drier east, Septoria tritici resilience is welcome.

The other is also in East Anglia, at Troston Farm, Suffolk. Both Astronomer (6.2) and Skyscraper were drilled within 24 hours of each other in mid-October but Skyscraper is carrying five times the Septoria tritici DNA of Astronomer.

Yellow rust:

After last season’s early yellow rust outbreak CropCheck scores reflect the lack of reports so far this season.

Yellow rust infection is only present at one site, J C McLean, Keillor Farm, Perthshire. The McLean team and CTM Grant Reid haven’t seen signs of the disease but Illuminate (7) is carrying low levels of ng/DNA/mg. They’ll keep a close eye on it, suggests Grant.

 

 

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