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Very close up shot of wheat crop ears in field

Report: 01 April 2011 (for week beginning 28 March 2011)

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

Winter Oilseed Rape: Pollen beetle rapid increase. Very high numbers in the South and East creating a new growth stage of black bud in some crops, numbers have fallen in the West as temperatures dropped.

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.

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.

Click for HGCA leaflet.

First flowers in the South.

Cereals: Yellow rust in wheat confined to the East.
Net blotch evident in many winter barley crops.
Brown rust on barley in the South West.

Winter Oilseed Rape

image from FoL

Pollen beetle burrowing
into young bud.
Photo Farming Online.

South East: Growth stages range from early green bud to yellow bud (ES Alienor) and all crops are now growing rapidly with a run of milder days and nights. Pigeons are still proving a nuisance on some backward canopies, although recent rain and warmer nights are helping these crops recover now.

Pollen beetle: a major problem in around 25-30% of crops, with these crops having up to 20/plant - can be readily found in all crops, but most at around 3-6 beetles/plant.

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

South West: First few flowers now starting to open. General range is green bud to yellow bud. A few crops are at black bud stage due to very high pollen beetle infestation.

Pollen beetle: very high populations - in some cases over 100 per plant have been treated.

Eastern Counties: Rape continuing to move rapidly into stem extension, flower buds proud on several crops noticeably in the varieties which are earlier to flower (DK Cabernet is one of the last varieties to move into stem extension). Stem extension fungicides for their growth regulatory effect as well are now being applied.

Pollen beetle: higher levels in crops where buds are proud of canopy. Have reached threshold levels in some crops. Including a pollen beetle treatment in tank mix with stem extension fungicides where needed. Continuing to monitor all crops.

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 been high with some spraying done over the weekend, but a lot of crops below threshold - pigeon damaged crops will be at risk as temperatures rise again and if numbers become high.

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.

West Midlands: Well established early sown crops grew over a foot last week, with some crops just starting to show signs of yellow buds.

Pollen beetle: numbers are well down this week as temperatures drop. Very few crops treated as yet and with yellow buds starting to appear suspect will not need to treat any more.

North East: Rapid stem extension this week and some crops over 50 cm now. Buds well above the crop canopy but only a few showing any tendency to yellow bud. 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.

Pollen beetle: numbers well above threshold seen in some crops at green bud stage, especially in northern part of region. In rest of the area high numbers in some crops but very spasmodic.

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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 GS 30 with leaf 4 up to 75% emerged on main shoot in sheltered locations, otherwise September sown Claire, Cordiale and Scout now approaching GS30. Mid-October onwards sown crops generally not extending yet and remain at late tillering. Soils now moist again following very useful 10-12mm rain on Thursday - nearly an inch in March now!

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 still mostly brown and inactive.

Brown rust: none seen.

Yellow rust: none seen.

Weed control: significant flush of cleavers now in some fields after oilseed rape in particular.

South West: Many crops now at GS 30 with several at GS 31 with leaf 4 emerging. The warmer days and nights have pushed wheat on and now that surface feeding roots are developing nitrogen uptake is speeding up as crops start to lay down chlorophyll. Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NVDI) images of crops show considerable variation in fields which appear uniform at ground level.

Septoria: a lot on old leaves of susceptible varieties.

Mildew: starting to kick off in a few forward crops of susceptible varieties.

Brown rust: none seen.

Yellow rust: none seen.

Weed control: spring applied SU herbicides have stressed some crops.

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: significant levels developing in susceptible varieties - Oakley, Robigus, Viscount, Conqueror and Solstice.

Eyespot: low levels.

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

East Midlands: Forward crops at good GS30 but majority of crops at GS29 to 29+. Growth slowed by dry weather with no rain for 4 weeks up to Wednesday. Top inch of soil very dry and nitrogen not getting down. Crops just putting out new roots. In spite of warm days have had two night frosts this week down to -2 deg C.

Septoria: still no change with dry weather keeping it on older lower leaves.

Mildew: dry conditions and some night frosts have kept it in check with nothing on upper leaves of crops.

Yellow rust: reports of yellow rust in Oakley but varieties such as Gallant, Solstice, Duxford still keeping clear.

Eyespot: dry weather will slow down any development.

Weed control: awaiting more settled weather before applying herbicides for brome control. As usual cleavers growing happily away.

West Midlands: Still no wheat at GS 31 (good news!), no real growth spurts as yet , with many crops not getting hold of nitrogen applied 2-3 weeks ago. Crops with sludge cake and poultry manure underneath them are growing but not rapidly.

Mildew: fertile land still showing visible mildew.

Brown rust: none seen.

Yellow rust: none seen.

Gout fly: report from Cheshire of lots of adult gout fly flying in crops, could be an issue for spring wheat or very late sown winter wheat.

Weed control: crop yellowing very visible today on a light land farm where herbicides applied for brome control.

North East: Most forward crops of Viscount, Robigus, Duxford and Cordiale now at GS 30 (ear at 1cm). All other crops fully tillered and will be GS 30 within 14 days.The dry spell continues and only had 3mm rainfall in March. Crops still look OK but fields are drying and cracking so rain will be very welcome.

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.

Weed control: fields without a blackgrass problem, and those 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: Crop growth beginning to accelerate now following succession of warmer nights with some Cassata crops now approaching GS31, and most other crops/varieties at around GS29-30.

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).

Brown rust: pustules appearing rapidly in last week on lower leaves of Boost and Volume in particular.

South West: Approaching GS 30 and yellow areas starting to green up. Very little disease present.

Eastern Counties: Crops approaching GS 30.

Mildew: obvious in some crops especially in coastal areas.

Net blotch: developing in all crops.

East Midlands: Crops at GS 29 - expect GS 30 in early April but they are not growing rapidly. Very little disease present.

West Midlands: GS 26-30 some just approaching GS 31. Some very thick crops where sown early and on fertile ground.

Net blotch: still the most visible disease but new growth clean.

North East: Most barleys changing quickly now as they start to pick up the nitrogen applied earlier. There is a lot of yellow leaf in some crops but they should green up well in better growing conditions. Disease levels remain low.

Rhynchosporium: significant levels seen in early sown susceptible varieties, particularly Cassia and Carat, but its development has been curtailed by the dry conditions.

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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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