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Very close up shot of wheat crop ears in field

Report: 20 May 2011 (for week beginning 16 May 2011)

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

Winter wheat crops: have raced on with many at ear emergence (GS 51-59). Wheat blossom midge need monitoring especially as the Met Office is forecasting above average temperatures next week in the south and east. Remember Oakley, Robigus, Scout, Viscount and Warrior are resistant to blossom midge. First reports of aphids on wheat crops in Essex again warmer weather will favour them. Rain has revived some weeds in spring treated crops.

Headlines: Wheat blossom midge emerging - get the traps out.
Forward wheat crops at ear emergence.
First reports of aphids in wheat.
Spring beans beginning to flower.
Silver Y moth in sugar beet.

Winter Oilseed Rape

image from FoL

Good pod set in earlier
flowering crops.
Photo Farming Online.

South East: Most crops now green and finished flowering, though there are still a few crops at late flowering. Some crops beginning to look very well, especially variety Ovation, while others on lighter soils have shown lots of flower abortion and those that were seriously water stressed finished flowering in around 2 weeks - not a good sign. No further inputs now until pre-harvest glyphosate.

Sclerotinia: control measures completed.

Seed weevil: very low levels so far.

South West: Flowering now largely complete on many crops. Those crops with poor pod set on the main raceme are now compensating lower down the plant. There is a need to be wary of Alternaria as many of the Sclerotinia fungicides were applied earlier than usual this year meaning their activity on pod spot will run out earlier.

Sclerotinia: treatments now complete.

Seed weevil: very low levels so far.

Eastern Counties: On light soils top flowers have withered and not set pods. Crops looked very drought stressed and are losing colour. Some areas of fields are showing areas of premature senescence. Crops on heavier soil types are faring better and holding their colour. Flowering finished in most fields. No rain at all last weekend odd shower nothing more than 1mm.

Sclerotinia: sprays now applied.

Seed weevil: high numbers in some crops.

East Midlands: Crops on the whole look well with some good potential now rain has arrived. Forward crops at late petal fall and greening over with later crops still approaching last quarter of flowering.

Sclerotinia: sprays now all on.

Seed weevil: numbers vary from very low to just below threshold.

West Midlands: Most crops now at end of flowering, however, late flowering crops still bright yellow. Cubic and Castille well ahead of other varieties. Pod set erratic with crops having some sections with very short pods on main stem whilst others exhibit good pod set.

Sclerotinia: treatments complete.

Pod midge: more prevalent than would like.

North East: Petal fall has been accelerated by the showers and most crops are predominantly green now. Very dry but crops not showing any obvious drought stress.

Sclerotinia: the second spray for Sclerotinia has been applied to some crops now, and the rest will be done over the next 7 days.

Seed weevil: high numbers in some crops.

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Winter Wheat

image from FoL

Midge make an
early appearance.
Photo Farming Online

South East: Wheat crops, irrespective of sowing date now, have raced ahead to GS 52-59, with ears in some varieties now fully emerged and starting to flower (Cordiale/Gallant and Soissons), though overall crop development appears to have slowed this week in response to cooler weather.

Mildew: fresh pustules noticeable on lower leaves/stems of thicker crops of Solstice, Claire and even Grafton and Diego - has been particularly evident in crops on lighter soils where N uptake/availability has been delayed and/or stress been visible.

Brown rust: still none seen.

Yellow rust: no further outbreaks.

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.

Eyespot: recent rain may cause some disease progression.

Blossom midge: recent rain and warm soils is clearly resulting in very early midge emergence and with ears now emerging slowly over next 2-3 weeks, could place many non-midge resistant varieties at particularly high risk this year.

Aphids: none seen.

South West: Wheat crops are now at ear emergence which is around 10 days earlier than normal. This applies to traditionally late varieties such as Alchemy not just early ones like Grafton or Gallant. On light land crops are barely one foot high as the ear emerges. The recent rain has made a huge difference to crop vigour and chlorophyll content, allowing latent fertiliser nitrogen to be utilised. All is not gloom, heavy land crops look exceptional. It is a year when early drilling and early N application have given the best looking, least stressed crops.

Mildew: building up on stressed crops.

Brown rust: none seen.

Yellow rust: any spray misses on susceptible varieties are riddled with yellow rust.

Septoria: confined to older leaves.

Eyespot: not progressing.

Blossom midge: reports of male midges flying however while soils have been moistened evenings have been too windy for female egg laying activity.

Aphids: none seen.

Eastern Counties: Many crops at ear emergence. Conditions remain extremely dry with crops under significant drought stress on light land. Irrigation underway in places. 1.5 mm rain in the last week has made little difference.

Mildew: present and still active in some forward crops.

Brown rust: none seen.

Yellow rust: no reports of re-infection yet on any treated crops.

Septoria: on the lower leaves in a number of varieties, notably Viscount and Oakley, relatively little new infection on younger leaves.

Eyespot: low levels.

Blossom midge: we're setting orange blossom midge traps out, although with spring rain largely absent this should reduce activity. It's very early days but two traps put out this week showed low numbers.

Aphids: present on lower leaves, with a few showing on early emerging ears.

East Midlands: Forward crops at ear in boot to emerging - majority of crops at flag fully emerged and later crops at flag just emerging. One of the earliest seasons seen with ear emerging some 10 days before normal. After some 19mm rain crops have responded by greening up but stressed areas still show on lighter soils with paler crops and stunted growth more rain will be welcome.

Mildew: earlier fungicide treatments prevented any development.

Yellow rust: treated crops remain clean.

Septoria: all leaves generally clear.

Eyespot: stems have remained very clean.

Blossom midge: none seen.

Aphids: none seen.

West Midlands: Early sown Grafton has the ears ¾ emerged, Humber not far behind. Stressed crops on light land also pushing ears out. All crops have flag leaf emerged. Further isolated showers on Wednesday (some had 5mm) has pushed the total rainfall up to 50mm for some people. All crops have greened up due to finally being able to take nitrogen up (including the split that went on at the end of March probably). The dry weather has impacted on the light land crops which have lost tillers but not seriously thin. Weather conditions over the last 10 days has hampered application of T2.

Mildew: obvious in the base of some crops.

Brown rust: none seen.

Yellow rust: none in treated crops.

Septoria: visible on leaf 4 and 5.

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

Blossom midge: none seen.

Aphids: none seen.

North East: Crop development is progressing very quickly with even later crops in boot (GS 41-45), and the more forward crops have first ears just visible (GS51). Duxford and Cordiale are in this group. Still very dry. There has only been 5mm rainfall locally in the last 7 days. This is useful but nowhere near enough to get the most drought stressed crops to take up enough nitrogen to avoid a yield penalty.

Yellow rust: still a little active rust in a few crops of Oakley and Robigus.

Septoria: the few showers there have been will have spread infection into the crop canopy.

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

Blossom midge: none seen.

Aphids: none seen.

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Winter Barley

South East: All crops now mostly at GS 51-59. T2 fungicides now all applied - no more inputs until combining.

South West: Early varieties such as Carat are at 66% ear emerged. All field operations now complete.

Eastern Counties: Crops flowering. All treatments now complete.

East Midlands: All crops have awns out now but rain came too late to save stressed tillers on lighter soils - now T2 fungicide is on gate will be basically shut.

West Midlands: All crops at or finished flowering. Gate closed on this crop now.

North East: Most crops flowering now. Very dry, but most crops looking ok. Its just the later drilled ones that either haven't tillered well, or have aborted tillers and so are on the thin side.

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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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