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Very close up shot of wheat crop ears in field

Report: 25 February 2011 (for week beginning 21 February 2011)

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

Spring: is around the corner but wet fields are hampering any catch up sprays and early fertiliser applications.
Disease levels still remain low in most cereal crops although mildew is present in some wheat crops in the east and barley in the south.
The most forward wheat crops are approaching GS 30 with the most recently unfurled leaf being final leaf 7 - final leaf 6 is just emerging in crops we have dissected.

Check for wheat bulb fly damage.

Calculate GAI to plan growth regulators in rape.

Winter Oilseed Rape

image from FoL

Big variation in GAI of
oilseed rape crops -
top 0.26 bottom 1.73.
Photo Farming Online.

South East: Mostly at rosette to very early stem extension (ES Alienor) and active new growth as days pull out along with milder weather.

Phoma: around 50% of crops been over sprayed in last 4 weeks or so where there was renewed leaf spotting on upper leaves.

Weed control: fields treated with herbicide in mid-December look good with typical bulbil like stem bases and yellowing foliage now appearing. Remaining applications made at end of January.

South West: Rape plants developing fresh green leaf in the rosette. No stem extension seen as yet.

Phoma: occasional crops showing infection on younger leaves, often where an early autumn spray with no follow up was applied.

Weed control: Charlock has been hit by the frost.

Eastern Counties: Crops have begun to grow and put out new leaf. Generally pleased with ground cover - some lighter fields showing pale patches and we are not sure of the diagnosis - possibly S deficiency. Wet again, no field work at the moment.

Phoma: very little fresh phoma spotting seen, a lot of crops in the area have had two doses of fungicide to date, autumn and winter (some into the New Year).

Weed control: herbicide application planned to tidy up poppies on some light fields.

East Midlands: Crops vary a lot with some good crops with good leaf cover and more backward ones with small leaves which haven't developed much over winter - these are getting some bad pigeon damage as well.

Phoma: very little fresh phoma spotting seen.

Weed control: good control of blackgrass on the whole but it is slow to die.

West Midlands: Have one late sown block which is struggling, and a percentage of the plants are sitting on the soil surface, if dry enough these will get rolled. All other crops fine. Green Area Index range form 0.25 to 2.0.

Pigeons: devastating some crops particularly on isolated fields.

Weed control: Poppy on light land + shepherds purse + mayweed will get herbicide when it warms up.

North East: All crops have survived winter well so far and still have up to 9 leaves, even if they are a bit weather battered. Despite the rain, rape fields will travel much better than the cereals. Some crops are still 'big', but plant populations are quite low.

Light leaf spot: low levels seen.

Weed control: frost has totally wiped all infestations of Charlock and Runch.

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Winter Wheat

image from FoL

High tiller numbers
in early sown crops.
Photo Farming Online.

South East: With milder temperatures in the last month, there has been some steady growth and overall greening up of many fields - frost heave evident on thinner chalks and these fields will want rolling when dry enough. All heavier ground is wet at present due to regular rainfall events. With soil Deep-N results now mostly in, it appears that soil levels are overall at best average and in some cases below normal.

Septoria: present on old leaves of susceptible varieties.

Mildew: none seen.

Brown rust: none seen.

Yellow rust: none seen.

Weed control: treatment applied at middle to end of November appears to have generally controlled around 95-98%+ of blackgrass. All unsprayed fields being picked off in current mild weather when conditions suitable for spraying/travelling.

South West: Crops are well tillered, green and leafy in the current mild conditions. Little evidence of the cold December to be seen in today's crops. Too wet to travel except on the lightest land.

Septoria: a lot of Septoria on old leaves of susceptible varieties.

Mildew: no fresh development.

Brown rust: none seen.

Yellow rust: none seen.

Weed control: remaining applications for blackgrass control are scheduled to be applied as soon as ground conditions allow.

Eastern Counties: A few wet and miserable days have kept fertiliser spreaders in the barn. The forecast is decidedly uncertain for the next 7 days. T0's are still a few weeks away even for September drillings. The early sown crops are now mid tillering. 30mm of rain in the last week has rendered field conditions impassable.

Septoria: visible on older leaves particularly on Oakley and Viscount.

Mildew: low levels present and active on some forward crops.

Brown rust: none seen.

Yellow rust: none seen.

Wheat bulb fly: dead heart symptoms can be seen in wheat following sugar beet and potatoes. We are also finding symptoms in 2nd wheat which was affected by bulb fly last year and continuous wheat in a sugar beet area. Egg hatch is over 70% and plant invasion at or approaching 50% and we may need to follow up with a dead-heart spray because of these potentially high risk scenarios.

Weed control: some blackgrass now at three leaf stage where no pre-emergence herbicide has been applied.

East Midlands: Fields wet and sticky and no real chance of fieldwork. Wheat crops have come through the cold OK, with no signs of any problems, apart from some loss of greening but this is coming back now with some (slightly) milder temperatures.

Septoria: visible on older leaves.

Mildew: low levels present and active on some forward crops.

Brown rust: none seen.

Yellow rust: none seen.

Weed control: some crops still very clean after pre-em and will wait before deciding whether treatment is required.

West Midlands: Early sown crops are lush and some are just looking as though they are at the end of tillering. Late sown crops have all now emerged and looking as though they have survived the winter freeze. Dissection of September drilled Grafton and Warrior show final leaf 6 just emerging. Dry then wet then dry and now wet again means no more field work this week. Manganese applied to problem fields over the last 3 weeks.

Septoria: visible on older leaves.

Mildew: none seen.

Brown rust: none seen.

Yellow rust: none seen.

Weed control: No treatment applied as yet will hopefully make a start next week.

North East: Early sown crops at GS 22-24, later sown at GS 12-13. Some growth now despite the low temperatures and crops continue to maintain good colour. Only a few well structured and free draining fields would 'travel', most are very wet, soft and muddy. There have been no very wet spells in February but 4-5 mm. of rain every few days has accumulated a total of 30 mm. so far this month.

Septoria: High levels of lesions on older leaves of all susceptible varieties, and particularly Viscount.

Mildew: none seen.

Brown rust: none seen.

Yellow rust: none seen.

Weed control: Treatment is planned to be applied as soon as conditions permit in all fields where blackgrass has been identified.

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Winter Barley

South East: Growth stages range from GS 24-29. Most crops have put on good growth in last few weeks with milder days and nights. Mildew very evident in thicker crops of Cassata.

South West: All well tillered however yellowing on wet areas prevalent.

Eastern Counties: Crops range from yet to emerge through to early tillering. Traces of net blotch present in early drilled crops particularly Casatta, Pearl and second barley crops.

East Midlands: Crops range from GS 13-25. No diseases present yet.

West Midlands: Light land crops just starting to turn pale. Traces of Rhynchosporium present in some crops.

North East: Crops range from GS 13-25. Little growth now, but all crops look well. Low levels of net blotch and Rhynchosporium in early sown susceptible varieties.

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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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