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Report: 26 April 2011 (for week beginning 18 April 2011)

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

Cereals: Final leaf two on forward wheats.
Winter barley flag leaf emerging.
Lack of rain now a real worry on light land.
Crops are loosing tillers quickly, many have dropped or reduced growth regulators from their spray programmes.
Irrigators are out in several regions in an attempt to make the most of high grain prices.
T1 fungicides are going on.

Winter oilseed rape: Sclerotinia control underway.
Sclerotinia remains a threat despite the drought.
Watch out for Seed Weevil - they make their mark in the North East.

Spring beans: Crops emerging rapidly and straight into the path of bean weevils.

Winter Oilseed Rape

image from FoL

Crops flowering.
Photo Farming Online.

South East: Most crops now at early flowering with pods setting and most crops beginning to look very well, especially variety Ovation.

Sclerotinia: with many crops now flowering, and soil temperatures at around 10 deg.C. and with adequate soil moisture, conditions are now ideal for apothecia emergence and spore release. After dry conditions of 2007 and the level of Sclerotinia infection then, this has all the hallmarks of a high risk Sclerotinia year.

Seed weevil: very low levels so far.

South West: Earliest crops now well into flowering. Subsequent inspection of those crops treated for pollen beetle reveals significant flower abortion in unsprayed areas. IRAG advises not to use follow on doses of pyrethroids on OSR to reduce resistance build up.

Sclerotinia: treatments now imminent.

Pollen beetle: numbers declining.

Eastern Counties: Rape rapidly coming into flower. Rape on infertile or very light sites in particular quite spindly and quickly ran through stem extension - it now urgently needs rain for nitrogen uptake. Many fields are very uneven.

Sclerotinia: back in 2007 we saw one of the worst outbreaks of this disease at the end of a seven week drought which coincided with flowering. This proved that leaf wetness caused by heavy dews or mizzle was enough to allow petals to stick to the leaves and so transfer infection into stems and branches.

Seed weevil: none seen.

East Midlands: Most crops well into flowering now with some at 10-20 pod set stage. Backward pigeon damaged crops are struggling in the dry conditions.

Sclerotinia: Sclerotinia sprays going on, with the dry weather delaying lower risk farms nearer to mid flower this may mean a single spray will suffice. High risk farms sprayed in last few days, especially where T1 coming up on wheat this strategy prevents any clashes if (!!) weather breaks.

Seed weevil: none seen.

West Midlands: Good crops now shoulder height and yellow (approx 30-40% flowers). Petal fall on Cubic and Castille, remaining varieties very little if any petal fall to date.

Sclerotinia: treatments planned to coincide with early to mid flowering.

Seed weevil: none seen yet.

North East: Crops have come into flower and to early petal fall very quickly. Crops of Excalibur and Compass have 10-15 pods set on the main stems.

Sclerotinia: all crops are considered to be at high risk, and despite the lack of rain infection levels on the petals could be high.

Seed weevil: this can be a very damaging pest in conjunction with bladder pod midge. The threshold level is 1 weevil/2 plants and they can be difficult to find. This year they are present at up to 3 weevil in a flower stem.

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Winter Wheat

image from FoL

Yellow rust on untreated
Photo Farming Online.

South East: September and early October sown crops of Gallant, Cordiale and Solstice have raced ahead to GS 32 this week with leaf 3 now typically 75%+ emerged on main shoots with tip of leaf 2 showing. Even September sown Claire and Scout have moved rapidly in the last week and are now at GS 31-32 with leaf 3 around 50% emerged on main shoots. Early October sown crops now also around GS 31+ with 3 emerging. With yet more warm and largely dry weather predicted in the next week, there will be further rapid growth - crops on lighter soils getting desperate for rain and farms with access to water have started irrigating lighter fields. T1 timings are around a week early this year, though disease pressure (especially Septoria) remains very low and many crops have only had T0 sprays applied in last 10-14 days. T1 sprays will now look to target leaf 2 emergence on main shoots towards end of April.

Septoria: despite seemingly dry conditions, now visible on tip of leaf 4 in earliest sown crops of Claire and Scout, indicating a degree of leaf to leaf transmission through dews.

Mildew: low levels of fresh pustules noticeable on lower leaves of thicker and lusher crops of Solstice and even Gallant - also some evident on lower leaves of any crops on lighter soils.

Brown rust: still none seen.

Yellow rust: still none seen.

Eyespot: still only very low levels noted to date, but surprising increase in its incidence in last week despite overall dry conditions of March, and April to date.

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

South West: Wheat crops now green and lush although concern is mounting over moisture availability on lighter land. Most crops still at GS 31 except for earlier drillings in mild areas which are at GS 32 with tip to one third of leaf 3 visible. It is unlikely that the majority of nitrogen has been taken up so we are watchful for a spell of very rapid growth if/when significant rain arrives. Spraying and fertiliser operations continue largely unhindered by the weather apart from a bit of wind mid week.

Septoria: confined to older leaves.

Mildew: no new infection.

Brown rust: none seen.

Yellow rust: none seen.

Eyespot: not progressing in the current dry weather.

Weed control: minor flush of polygnums in some crops especially on frost weathered clays.

Eastern Counties: Peeling back leaves over the last few days has shown the emergence of leaf 3 following a clear association with drilling date. Fields sown around 20th September will be well into the T1 spray decision zone and on forward tillers leaf 3 has emerged and you can find the tip of leaf 2 about to come through. This is in contrast to fields sown around 10th October where leaf 3 is sometimes half through only on the more forward tillers. Conditions remain extremely dry with crops under significant drought stress on light land. Irrigation underway in places.

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

Mildew: present and active in some forward crops.

Brown rust: none seen.

Yellow rust: significant levels pre-treatment in susceptible varieties such as Oakley and Robigus, lower levels on Viscount, Conqueror and occasionally Solstice. No reports of re-infection yet on any treated crops.

Weed control: here and there spring germinating 'polygonums' such as redshank and black bindweed have appeared, they remain small and will struggle to compete unless fields are particularly backward.

East Midlands: Forward crops of Solstice at GS 32 with leaf 3 emerged and in a few cases leaf 2 tip. Most crops at leaf 3 just emerging. Some stress showing in some crops especially later drilled crops and late drilled 2nd wheat - if dry weather remains expect some tiller death. Growth regulators being downscaled with only a few very forward crops receiving a very low rate. Many crops may well not require any growth regulator at all. Soils very dry on top and cracking widely found. First T1 going on this week to try and help tiller survival.

Septoria: upper leaves remaining very clean and no pressure with continued dry weather.

Mildew: still found in some crops of Solstice and Humber. T1 applied as a protectant - value of wheat at present dictates we look after crops in spite of dry conditions.

Yellow rust: levels around us remain low.

Eyespot: with the dry, levels remain very low - as low as I have seen them in many seasons with only odd plants or fields with some browning of stems.

Weed control: avoiding SU herbicides unless really required - will wait until we get some rain and flush of weeds before using any.

West Midlands: Early sown Humber has final leaf 2 emerging. Quite a lot of wheat is now pushing leaf 3 out. Solstice although very tall is only just pushing out leaf 3, second wheat JB Diego today although looks like the end of tillering also has leaf 3 pushing through. It is very very dry. Light land wheat is now losing tillers. Some now irrigating wheat.

Septoria: visible on older leaves only.

Mildew: worse of JB Diego.

Brown rust: none seen.

Yellow rust: high levels found in untreated crop of Oakley.

Eyespot: early sown Humber and JB Diego has some rather nice lesions with some having penetrated through the outer leaf sheath.

North East: The dry conditions continue to restrict crop growth, but all now are at least GS 30, and the most forward are GS 31-32. There has been no rain again over last 7 days, so we have only had 7mm this month, and no prospect of rain in the near future. Most 1st wheats look OK, but many of the 2nd wheat crops are being affected by the dry conditions. If there is no rain soon, a lot of tillers will be aborted and crops will have low ear numbers at harvest.

Septoria: the dry conditions are preventing aggressive disease development.

Brown rust: none seen.

Yellow rust: small foci of disease appeared in late sown Oakley last week.

Eyespot: lesions are easy to find on outer leaf sheaths of early sown varieties but the dry conditions have stopped aggressive penetrating symptoms developing.

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Winter Barley

South East: Rapid crop growth, with crops of Cassata now mostly at GS 32-37, and most other crops/varieties at around GS32-33. No fresh infections after last fungicide application.

South West: Now at GS 32 to 33 and growing rapidly. We anticipate flag leaf and subsequent awn emergence will be late April.

Eastern Counties: Crops approaching GS 32/33. First fungicide now applied to all crops.

East Midlands: Flag leaf starting to emerge and expect awns out early May. T1 sprays holding diseases back and dry weather reducing pressure.

West Midlands: Flag leaf emerging on quite a few crops. Disease levels remain low in most crops.

North East: In forward crops will see flag leaf emerging next week, but for most it will be at least 10 days yet. It's too dry, and crops are suffering now especially the later sown ones.

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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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