Crop Watch: Crops suffer in dry spell – Farmers Weekly – Ben Pledger

Ben Pledger looks at agronomic issues in the East ...

In winter wheat with early spring growth being slow, the need for a plant growth regulator at T0 has been low on most crop, so the T0 fungicide has been kept in the can on most varieties.

Varieties with a low rating for yellow rust, or those showing signs of the disease, have been treated with tebuconazole plus or minus azoxystrobin. Untreated crops will be monitored between now and T1 timing, and treated if needed with the same chemistry should the disease appear.

The slow early season growth has been, in part, down to ground conditions going from too wet to travel, to too dry on top to take in nitrogen fertiliser in only a few days.

Broad-leaved weed emergence in cereals has been relatively low on the whole, however, with the ground starting to crack we could see weeds emerging from depth after the usual contact herbicide addition to the T1 fungicide, potentially pushing herbicide applications back. With this possibility, keep in mind latest application timing for individual herbicide products.

Spring drilling

With most spring drilling completed in a relatively short time period in the area, the window for crop emergence will be much longer, dependant on soil type and cultivation method. I have fields of spring barley right next to each other that were drilled on the same day, one at two leaves, the other with dry seed sitting in dust. The only difference being an extra pass with the cultivator, which removed precious moisture.

With little rain forecast, emergence of the latter could be delayed significantly. This dry period, with differing moisture levels between soil types within fields, will vary emergence of sugar beet. The knock-on variation of crop growth stages will make identifying the correct timing for herbicide applications difficult, and even more so where weed control programmes are without desmedipham.

This weather is starting to bring back ugly memories of the spring of 2011.

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