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Crop watch: Diseases appear as the weather warms up – Farmers Weekly – Ben Pledger

Ben Pledger takes a look at agronomic issues in the East (Bedfordshire/Hertfordshire) ...

With the first reports of barley yellow dwarf virus in cereal crops coming in, it is important to keep an eye out, especially on later-drilled winter cereal crops which haven’t yet seen an insecticide. Although the recent cold spells may have allayed fears, the threat is still real.

Between the recent cold snaps there was warm weather, conducive to aphid flight, which may well have brought aphids into crops which were clear before the first cold spell. It will pay dividends to get out and have a look. If aphids are present, lambda-cyhalothrin will be applied, either on its own, or in a tank mix with manganese and phosphites where tiller manipulation is required.

Spring drilling is getting under way, with good progress having been made on the lighter chalky soils in the area. Peas are nearly all in and chitted. Where primary seedbed cultivations were done in the autumn, a good chit of weeds has come, allowing a good kill with glyphosate prior to secondary cultivations, or in some cases drilling straight in.

Weed control

Pre-emergence applications of clomazone and pendimethalin will be made to guard against further weed activity. Variable-rate seed plans are now being tweaked on Omnia to take seed-bed conditions into consideration for the drilling of spring cereal crops over the next couple of weeks.

As we find ourselves coming out of yet another wet winter, the quest for a dry seed-bed is foremost in a lot of grower’s minds. Please remember that forcing this with cultivation is usually a waste of diesel and steel, usually damaging soil structure and drying the soil out to depth.

When the almost inevitable dry spring arrives, spring crops will struggle for moisture in these situations, both from a dry seed-bed, and also from shallow rooting due to pans limiting root penetration.

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