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Very close up shot of wheat crop ears in field

Report: 21 May 2010 (for week beginning 17 May 2010)

Report compiled by Farming Online from reports received from members of the Association of Independent Crop Consultants

21 May 2010: Yield potential in wheat and barley crops is under threat after a cold dry spring.
Winter cereals are very short this year and drought stress symptoms are apparent in many crops with reports of leaves curling in the heat of the day.
Winter rape, on the other hand, has had a very extended flowering period and although short yield potential looks promising. However, much will depend on rainfall from now on.

Winter wheat: Crops suffering from drought stress. Disease levels remain low.
Wheat blossom midge - pheromone traps on farm now, and will be put out in 10-14 days.

Winter barley: At awn to ear emergence but many crops are short and thin.

Spring crops: Struggling in the dry conditions.

Winter Oilseed Rape

image from FoL

Cool, dry spring keeps crops
flowering longer.
Photo Farming Online.

South East: Mostly at late flowering - ES Alienor close to finishing flowering in some fields now. Despite recent late frosts, very little sign of aborted pods or damaged buds in most crops/varieties, with the exception of DK Cabernet, which still seems to be displaying a major reluctance to flower properly in some fields and has a worrying level of aborted sites on main raceme?? Looks to be around another 7-10 days of flowering left in most crops - at over 6 weeks will be longest flowering period for many years, hopefully a good sign for yields.

Light leaf spot: still finding very low levels in evidence.

Sclerotinia: recent warmer nights above the critical (7 deg.C) for apothecial development, means risk of infection has increased slightly, where there has been any petal sticking this week.

South West: Lack of wind and rain means petals are hanging around for an age. Most crops are at translucent seed in pod stage.

Seed weevil: very few seed weevils seen.

Eastern Counties: The earliest crops are past full flowering and becoming 'greener' day by day at the other end the latest crops are only just approaching full flower with some pigeon damaged areas very slow to come into flower.

Sclerotinia: all crops have received a sclerotinia spray at early petal fall now considering whether or not to apply a second fungicide about 3 weeks after first to at risk sites. As weather stays exceptionally dry we will be reviewing this decision.

East Midlands: Forward crops well podded and in last 1/3rd of flowering but mainly crops at mid flowering(+) with side branches still to set pods. Generally crops look well but short. Some worried about poor pod set due to frosts. Later crops could be better.

Sclerotinia: sprays now all on - follow up will depend on risk and if dry weather continues. Low risk crops getting one spray and will only get second if risk heightens.

Seed weevil: numbers low with just the odd one found.

West Midlands: Crops are beginning to loose petals now after a very extended flowering period. However, there is still the odd crop at early flowering.

Sclerotinia: most sprays now on.

North East: All crops in full flower now, and have significant petal fall. There has been excellent pod setting so far, and no problems been seen in DK Cabernet as reported in some areas.

Sclerotinia: temperatures are low so expect there to be only a slight risk of infection at the moment. Will decide later whether to apply a second fungicide after a 21 day interval.

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Winter Wheat

image from FoL

Canopies remain free of
disease as flag leaves
emerge.
Photo Farming Online.

South East: After very cold first half of May, this week's warmer weather has stimulated crop growth, with crops now ranging from GS 32 to GS 39. However, with only around 5-10mm of rain in last 3 weeks, soils are now very dry on the surface, leading to continued slow N uptake. T2 fungicides being applied from now onwards at around GS 39 and around 21-28 days after previous fungicides. Crops remain very short, with not many at knee height even though flag leaf emerging/emerged - straw will be a valuable commodity!

Brown rust: none seen.

Yellow rust: no symptoms found anywhere in the last month.

Mildew: still no active pustules found - continuation of dry cool days together with a lack of lush soft growth to date mean that mildew risk is currently extremely low.

Septoria: confined to lower leaves only - top 3 to 4 leaves currently very clean. Combination of dry and cool conditions are likely to result in very low Septoria pressure in most crops here in the south.

Eyespot: no change in disease level with only low levels of non-penetrating stem lesions visible in September and early October sown crops of Xi19, Cordiale and Solstice.

Weed control: Blackgrass - spring applied weed control effects can now be assessed - some very good (95-98%) control evident where populations have proven easy to control in the past, and not so good where is a degree of resistance in population (ranging from as poor as 40-50% up to 80%). Polygonums - large flush of polygonous species appearing now in any more open crops, if applying an SU at T2 check for any restrictions on sequences.

South West: Flag leaf emergence still very slow, currently only early sown Grafton, Cordiale and Gallant at GS 39. These crops are being sprayed now. However, the bulk of the wheat will be done next week, 7 to 10 days later than normal years. No change in disease situation on last week with leaves 1 to 5 virtually disease free. Crops are short except on high N min soils. Moisture disappearing rapidly with thin light soils drying very quickly and crops starting to look very thin as the dry conditions are causing tiller loss.

Yellow rust: T1 treatments holding the infection.

Mildew: no significant levels of mildew detectable.

Septoria: still confined to lower leaves.

Eyespot: lesions in early drillings are rarely penetrating beyond the leaf sheath.

Weed control: Blackgrass is booting in missed areas.

Eastern Counties: Majority of crops now with flag leaf emerging. Crops are now suffering significant drought stress, even on heavy land. Protein nitrogen applications on milling wheat outstanding.

Brown rust: disease levels generally very low.

Yellow rust: no active disease seen.

Mildew: disease present on late drilled crops and on susceptible varieties, Solstice, Conqueror and Claire, but not active.

Septoria: apparent in most crops, in particular on early drilled and forward crops.

Weed control: wild oats now at GS 1.2-2.4 where not controlled in the autumn. Some spring wild oats germinating.

East Midlands: Continued dry conditions means crops remain short with flag leaf 50% plus out on many crops and just emerging on later crops. Crops after maize have leaf 2 just emerging. Conditions very dry on top with little or no moisture in top inch and soils just moist to 4 inches. A hot dry June would see yields potentially fall if no significant rain before then.

Brown rust: none seen.

Yellow rust: none seen.

Mildew: levels remain very low and restricted to a bit on the very lower base of plants.

Septoria: levels remain low and even the odd late T1 crops are clean. T2 fungicides to go on imminently in forward crops and next week in slightly later crops.

Eyespot: can be found at low levels but dry weather is drying it out, especially as crops short and open and not "sweating" at the base.

Weed control: continue to find some blackgrass regrowth - doesn?t appear to matter when treatment applied (i.e. all in good growth conditions). Could it be due to blackgrass being hardened off more than usual due to cold winter?

West Midlands: Majority of wheat crops now have the flag leaf just showing to fully out (this is occurring in the same field in many crops!). Will aim to complete T2 by beginning of next week as warmer weather is now pushing the crops on.

Yellow rust: found dead pustules on some Oakley.

Mildew: traces on Humber and JB Diego.

Septoria: top four leaves remain clean.

Eyespot: levels much reduced.

Weed control: late germinating wild oats in some crops. If overspraying at T2, watch out for SU sequences.

North East: Growth stages range from tip of flag leaf just visible, to flag leaf 50% emerged. Only 1 mm rainfall locally in last 7 days, but plenty of moisture in the soil so crops are looking fine. Temperatures higher now and crops are taking up nitrogen well and growing quickly. Most crops are fairly short.

Brown rust: none seen.

Yellow rust: no infection seen.

Mildew: none seen.

Septoria: final leaves 2 and 3 are clean, but there is infection on older leaves which could be easily splashed up onto them. T2 planned soon as flag leaf fully emerged.

Eyespot: still only being found at low levels, and no serious infections seen.

Weed control: patches of wild oats coming through in some fields.

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Winter Barley

Note:Malting Quality this year: Malcolm Harrison reports on a study in the late 70's looking at malting barley quality in detail over 3 years, working with Munton and Fison Maltsters at Bridlington, but also looking at their historical data over 20 years and there was a clear, significant inverse correlation between May rainfall (including late April rainfall for winter barley) and grain nitrogen/protein. This will be reduced if we get substantial rainfall now, but only by a bit.

South East: Growth stages now mostly range from GS 39-52, with ears beginning to emerge now on crops of Boost. T2 fungicides scheduled in next week.

South West: Winter Barley flowering and all operations complete on this crop. Canopies have remained clean although yield prospects not great after the dry spring.

Eastern Counties: Crops range from GS 39 to awn emergence. Second fungicide applications now underway on many crops.

East Midlands: Awns emerging but crops short and some thin crops - in one case a lot of late tillers where urea used for first dressing but dry afterwards so may be crops has taken up N late. Some crops only had 20-30mm rain in last 6 weeks.

West Midlands: Ear emergence in most crops and some starting to flower. Majority of crops (if not all) have had T2 application.

North East: Awns mostly emerged in forward crops of Carat. Most 6-rows a bit later. T2 application planned for next 7 days or as soon as awns mostly emerged.

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Spring Beans

: at 2-6 pair leaves and bean weevil damage extensive in some crops and may require further control.

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Crop Report compiled by Farming Online from reports received from members of the Association of Independent Crop Consultants.

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