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Crop watch: Rain is welcome, but will raise disease risk – Farmers Weekly – Ben Pledger

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

I’m writing this on bank holiday Monday, and it is finally raining. Locally, most autumn-drilled crops still have roots into plenty of moisture at depth, but they’ve been restricted by having their shallower roots and their past two dressings of nitrogen fertiliser sat in dry soil near the surface.

Hopefully, we will have enough rain over the coming days to get these top few inches of soil nice and moist, at the very least, to get the nutrition flowing into these crops.

Winter oats have pretty much sat still over the past few weeks with the dry, cold weather. Now, with a bit of rain and the weather forecast to warm up, I expect these crops to grow away quickly, racing through their growth stages to catch up to where they should be at this time of year.

This will inevitably give problems with sequencing pesticide applications, as PGR, fungicide and herbicide applications should all be split out to reduce stressing the crop.

Weed flush

I left broad-leaved weed control out at the usual T1 timing on a lot of winter wheat this year as the weeds just hadn’t flushed at the time due to the dry soils. Now, with moisture in the soil, I am expecting a flush, which I will have to take out at T2 in places. Remember that this later herbicide application timing will limit product choice due to label restrictions associated with latest growth stage at time of application.

Weed control programmes in sugar beet have been frustrating in conventional crops to date, with varying emergence of both crop and weeds, leading to parts of fields being sprayed where weeds are up and growing, but leaving areas where there is either no weeds, or the crop is still too small and vulnerable to take a herbicide, especially with recent frosts thrown into the mix.

Weed control in Conviso Smart beet crops are still a way off starting, giving good time for all weeds, and weed beet, to flush before we control them. This proves that the simplicity of the concept will again surpass conventional chemical control in a tricky spring.

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