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Very close up shot of wheat crop ears in field

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

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

Pollen Beetle rapid increase: Warm weather brings out the pollen beetle in unusually large numbers in some crops in all regions - don't they know it's only March.
However, forecast is to turn to a more usual "unsettled weather" from early April.

Pollen Beetle Control thresholds
Winter oilseed rape:
- 15 pollen beetles/plant in well grown crops that can compensate for damage by producing more and larger seeds in lower pods.
- 5 pollen beetles/plant in backward crops, e.g. ones that have suffered frost or pigeon damage.
Click for HGCA leaflet.

Control - preliminary results from the Insecticide Resistance Action Committee (IRAC) indicate that 90% of UK samples are susceptible to pyrethroids, showing a reduction in resistance since 2007 when 70% of UK samples were susceptible.

Cereals: Mildew development slowed.

First signs of yellow rust in wheat.

Winter barley diseases remain low.

Winter Oilseed Rape

image from FoL

Pollen beetle explosion.
Photo Farming Online.

South East: Growth stages range from late rosette to green bud (ES Alienor) and all crops now trying to grow rapidly with run of milder days and nights. Pigeons still proving a real nuisance on some backward canopies - these need maximum deterrence for next 2 weeks now.

Pollen beetle: rapid appearance of adults in last few days with some crops having over 10/plant - can't recall having seen such a significant early invasion before.

Light leaf spot: low levels were being picked up in early March in any crops not sprayed twice for Phoma.

Weed control: in fields treated with residual herbicide in mid-December looks excellent, and those applied in January/February showing signs of control now.

South West: Crops all look green and healthy and growing vigorously. Flower buds raised above canopy.

Pollen beetle: numbers have risen over the recent warm days and a few backward, pigeon damaged crops are being treated. Some plants have 40-50 adult beetles.

Weed control: charlock has been hit by the frost.

Eastern Counties: Very variable growth, light land rape now well into stem extension 30 cm tall other crops only just beginning stem extension. A lot of variability within fields as well. Plants were wilting in the sunshine (18 deg.C) on Wednesday afternoon. Pigeon grazing not severe but they are still working away at backward areas.

Pollen beetle: very high levels in some crops this afternoon in warm sunshine - approaching threshold levels. Will monitor over next few days as may need to spray urgently.

Weed control: herbicides have mottled some crops and set the growth back slightly also giving a paler overall appearance. We have treated several part fields and the treated area stands out markedly.

East Midlands: Forward crops have flower buds just starting to show - generally more forward crops on fertile ground. Crops vary from very good to very backward where pigeon damage has been severe. Some forward crops will be getting growth regulator in next couple of weeks.

Pollen beetle: numbers have increased significantly in the last couple of days with some crops showing high numbers on early green buds - not a panic yet but if the warm settled weather continues then risk of damage to thin and backward crops could be significant.

Light leaf spot: none seen with samples being put into plastic bags for a few days showing no symptoms.

Pigeons: causing severe damage in some areas with large flocks and many claim attacks now are the worst so far this year, with fields being grazed down to the stems - not good for weed control and expect some weedy patches at harvest.

Weed control: spring herbicides now on all crops where required.

West Midlands: Buds extending to buds showing above the crop.

Pollen beetle: explosion of activity on Thursday massing on lead plants where buds are above the majority of the crop, 6-10 per head and surprisingly approaching threshold in some crops.

Weed control: spring herbicide applications working and smaller target weeds dying - wait and see on the bigger ones.

North East: Stem extension is beginning now, and expect to see some rapid growth as temperatures rise. GAI assessments done over last 10 days shows most crops in the range of 0.8-1.6, but there are some in the 2.0-3.0 range.

Light leaf spot: no crops seen with very high levels, but it is easy to find and could develop very quickly as temperatures rise.

Weed control: there are a few areas with high levels of mayweed and/or swine thistle that has survived the autumn herbicide.

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Winter Wheat

image from FoL

Septoria in wheat
March 2011.
Photo Farming Online

South East: Earliest sown crops of Gallant and Solstice now around GS30 with leaf 4 up to 50% emerged on main shoot in sheltered locations, otherwise September sown Claire, Cordiale and Scout now at end of tillering to GS29. Mid-October onwards sown crops generally not extending yet and remain at late tillering. With some very warm days there has been some rapid growth in last week with all crops now responding to applied N. Soils remain reasonably moist despite largely dry conditions - 7-10mm rain last Friday was ideal.

Septoria: obvious on oldest leaves, but all newer leaves appear very clean to date.

Mildew: noticeable on older leaves of thicker crops of Solstice in particular - but mostly brown and inactive now following frosts 10 days or so ago.

Brown rust: none seen.

Yellow rust: none seen.

Weed control: all unsprayed fields been largely sprayed now in last 10 days with near perfect spraying conditions - should be no weather based excuses for poor control this year! Wild oats emerging in usual suspect fields following dormancy breaking frosts of December

South West: Wheats at last starting to green up in response to warmer days and nights. Early September sown crops are generally at GS30 but still look yellow as the older leaves have taken quite a battering over the winter. Once leaf 4 and consequent leaves take dominance appearance should improve dramatically. Dry and most field operations possible. Soils at rooting depth still have adequate moisture. A good rain to wash in fertiliser would be appreciated.

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

Mildew: lots of old crusted mildew on susceptible varieties on fertile sites although no fresh development.

Brown rust: none seen.

Yellow rust: none seen.

Weed control: cleavers now growing strongly.

Eastern Counties: Early wheats have pushed through and many have been applying the T-zero mixes this week.

Septoria: present in a number of varieties, notably Viscount and Oakley.

Mildew: present and active in forward crops.

Brown rust: none seen.

Yellow rust: confirmed on Oakley, Robigus and Humber locally. It has, however, apparently been absent where seed treatments containing a yellow rust controlling component have been used. There are a good many fields of Oakley out there, and we've confirmed yellow rust on very few plants in no more than a handful of fields. To date it has NOT been found on Solstice, Gallant nor on Einstein.

Eyespot: low levels.

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

East Midlands: Forward crops at GS 29 with the odd one at GS 29-30, most at GS 29. Dry weather is slowing down uptake of N as it sits on the surface.

Septoria: still confined to lower leaves and top leaves clear.

Mildew: has remained on lower older leaves with no new development.

Yellow rust: none seen but T0 planned for end March on all at risk varieties.

Eyespot: very little stem browning and the dry weather will slow down any development.

Weed control: applied 2-3 weeks ago now working with blackgrass showing signs of uptake.

West Midlands: Crops range from GS 21-30. No wheat at GS31 as yet although Humber and Einstein are close. T0 fungicides going on from beginning of next week.

Septoria: visible on older leaves only.

Mildew: frosts have reduced the levels but can see fresh pustules just starting to appear in Humber and Solstice.

Brown rust: none seen.

Yellow rust: none seen.

Weed control: all treatments for blackgrass applied this week. Wild oats slowly emerging.

North East: Most first wheats are GS 30 or will be in next few days. Later sown crops mostly fully tillered. Its getting very dry now as there has only been 3 mm rainfall in March. Crops look fine, but some rain would be beneficial to increase efficient use of nitrogen.

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.

Eyespot: a low level seen.

Wheat bulb fly: none seen in local crops after vining peas, but a few deadhearts seen where following extended over-wintered stubble.

Weed control: fields without a blackgrass problem, and that did not get a pre- or early post-emergence application last Autumn will be treated in the next week.

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Winter Barley

South East: Growth stages still range from GS 24-29. Crops have surprisingly only put on slow growth in last few weeks.

Mildew: very evident in thicker crops/areas of Cassata.

Net blotch: present at low levels in most crops of Cassata and also Boost.

Rhynchosporium: surprisingly high level noted in lush field of Cassata (HGCA 8 for Rhynco).

South West: Still at late tillering, slowly starting to lose its yellow, stressed appearance. Very little disease present.

Eastern Counties: Crops range from yet to emerge through to early tillering. Mildew obvious in some crops and net blotch developing in early drilled crops.

East Midlands: Crops at GS 29+ but are not growing rapidly. New roots just starting to develop but again some rain to wash in N would be welcome. Mildew absent. Net blotch and Rhynchosporium both at low levels only.

West Midlands: Crops just now starting to get hold of N applied 2-3 weeks ago. None at T1 timing as yet (probably week after next).

Net blotch: is most visible disease on majority of crops but new growth clean.

Rhynchosporium: drying in up in the sun.

North East: A few later sown crops are just fully tillered, but most are at leaf sheath erect stage, and starting to grow quickly in the higher temperatures and longer day length. Disease levels remain low. There will be new leaves developing soon, and these will be protected with a fungicide at the T1 timing.

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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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