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Wheat

Getting the most from your wheat crop means making smart decisions throughout the season to get the best control of threats to your yield from diseases, weeds and pests.

Posted 2 months ago

October

What's happening in wheat in October

Most growers with black-grass problems will be planning to delay winter wheat drilling into mid-October. However, while it pays to be as late as possible, if the heavy downpours of recent weeks continue, many growers’ hands will be forced to ensure the crop gets in the ground, especially on heavier land.

For those able to delay, the first few weeks of October represent a final opportunity to spray off as much black-grass as possible with Roundup (glyphosate), before drilling.

Remember delayed drilling will help reduce Septoria disease pressure, and also the risk of barley yellow dwarf virus (BYDV) which is worthy of particular attention given this is the first season without access to Deter (clothianidin). Monitor the AHDB’s Aphid Bulletins, familiarise yourself with BYDV aphid vectors here, and utilise the t-sum calculation to guide when you may have to spray. 

Priorities this October (location dependent):

  • Complete cultivation programmes to encourage grassweed germination, and spray off accordingly
  • Drill winter wheat, when the time is right
  • Closely monitor crops during establishment and watch out for BYDV-carrying aphids

September

What's happening in wheat in September

Now is a good time to reflect on the last season and where to make improvements in the coming seasons. In particular, reassess your black-grass control programme. Consider where the worst areas on the farm are, and what special measures may be necessary.

Bayer’s Black-grass Task Force launched recently with the aim of translating black-grass trials work into field scale practices, on two farms with very different grassweed issues. In our series of blogs and videos, we discuss with experts how best to tackle black-grass on these farms.

Find out more about the Black-grass Task Force and how these farms are tackling black-grass here.

 

Priorities this September (location dependent):

  • Assess success of agronomic regimes
  • Start planning next year’s black-grass control programmes

June

What's happening in wheat in June

Cereal crops across the country are looking healthy after fairly warm temperatures and rain in recent weeks, but it means there is the odd sign of disease in wheat crops.

T2 sprays have all been applied, and crops are holding on well. On the lightest land there were initially some early signs of drought stress, but recent rainfall should have provided the moisture required for them to reach full potential.

Disease pressure has been relatively low, but in some cases wheat crops are carrying a lot of latent Septoria. The recent rainy weather may have led to symptoms appearing and Septoria spreading through the crop. Showers just ahead of key fungicide  timings have seen growers remain vigilant to the threat and fungicide programmes have generally been robust to protect yield.

Now, in the beginning of June, most if not all T2 fungicides will have been applied to wheat crops, so attention will soon turn to ear sprays. Fusarium and microdochium are now key targets due to the wet flowering period. We are also seeing yellow rust in some varieties, which will have prospered in the showery conditions of early June.

Priorities this month (location dependent):

  • Time wheat T3 fungicide sprays at mid-flowering for most effective control, T3 fungicide timing is key for effective ear disease control in wheat
  • Product choice and dose plays a big role in wheat ear disease control results
  • Use a minimum 50% dose of PTZ when targeting ear disease complex
  • Proline is the most effective product for fusarium and microdochium control in wheat
  • If rust is a risk in your crop add tebuconazole or a strobilurin at T3
  • Spray off bad blackgrass patches in wheat to reduce seed return

May

What's happening in Wheat in May

Since the warm Easter weather, cereal crops have been racing through the growth stages. Most wheat received a T1 fungicide in the last two weeks of April prior to rain and flag leaves are expected to be fully emerged from mid-May onward.

With the high temperatures in late April and relatively little rain over recent weeks, things have dried out, but drought stress is far from being a concern yet. It does mean that disease levels in most crops are low heading into May.

Any rain will potentially increase disease pressure, especially from Septoria, so it is important to protect the top two leaves with a T2 fungicide, such as Ascra or Aviator, as keeping these disease free for as long as possible contributes to maximising yields. 

Later in the month, start considering ear sprays for protecting against Fusarium and other ear diseases.

Priorities this month (location dependent):

  • Use cost effective T1 choices in late-drilled wheats
  • Don’t be complacent against Septoria in drier conditions
  • Use a robust T2 fungicide

April

What's happening in wheat in April

The dry winter means there has been plenty of residual nitrogen in the ground, and after rain in early March, winter cereals have picked that up and are looking fantastic.

Winter wheat crops are now moving rapidly and most are now at, or near, growth stage 30 leading into April. Even late-drilled crops are relatively forward due to the mild winter. Similarly, winter barley crops are growing quickly and reaching growth stage 30/31.

Early plant growth regulators are also now being applied to the most forward cereal crops. Classic dead heart symptoms, caused by wheat bulb fly, are appearing in wheat. Little can be done other than early nitrogen and rolling fields to help the crop thrive past the damage.

Although weather has been relatively dry through March, foliar diseases such as Septoria are present in winter wheat crops. If it turns wet during April, it could be a high disease year and applying a T0 fungicide will help suppress inoculum until the important T1 timing.

Some of the more forward wheats will reach the T1 fungicide timing later in April.

Priorities this month (location dependent):

  • Consider protecting against eyespot at T1 fungicide timing in wheat
  • Dissect main stems to get T1 wheat fungicide timing correct
  • Monitor wheat disease risk in the field, not from the office

Black-Grass: The Definitive Resource

Controlling black-grass is a year-round task, using a wide range of cultural and chemical controls.

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