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Very close up shot of wheat crop ears in field

Report: 27 May 2011 (for week beginning 23 May 2011)

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

Eastern counties: have experienced the driest spring since records began and predictions are for 20-40% yield reductions in these areas.

Winter wheat: crops at ear emergence and forward crops at early flowering.
Wheat blossom midge is still a threat and monitoring should continue especially as 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 in wheat.

High levels: of pod midge damage seen in some oilseed rape crops.

Spring beans: beginning to flower.

Winter Oilseed Rape

image from FoL

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

South East: All crops now at pod filling stage - no more inputs until pre-harvest.

Sclerotinia: no symptoms seen yet.

South West: Crops with poor pod set on the main raceme are now flowering and setting pods on side branches and appear to have compensated well.

Seed weevil: damage to pods more common than usual due to high infestations during flowering which were not well controlled by a single application of pyrethroid.

Sclerotinia: no symptoms seen.

Eastern Counties: Still no more than 1 mm of rain last week. Light land crops are quickly losing colour and areas of fields are already showing premature senescence. Heavy land looks ok but the moisture stress does not bode well for pod fill. We expect small seeds.

Seed weevil: high numbers in some crops.

Sclerotinia: no symptoms seen.

East Midlands: In spite of everything many crops look very well with some pods looking like pea pods. Pigeon damaged crops just coming to end of flowering. Varieties of the season - Compass and Vision.

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

Sclerotinia: no symptoms seen.

West Midlands: Most crops now at end of flowering, however, late flowering crops still yellow.

Seed weevil: on late flowering crops again.

Sclerotinia: no symptoms seen.

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.

Seed weevil: high numbers in some crops.

Sclerotinia: no symptoms seen.

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Winter Wheat

image from FoL

Midge - keep checking
Photo Farming Online.

South East: Back to no rain again! At least temperatures have remained cool over the last few weeks which has prevented any new stress symptoms developing. However, many crops on lighter ground remain on the edge of severe drought stress if we get hot weather without any further significant rain. Having said that, at this stage it is amazing how many crops have bounced back and look to have reasonable yield potential providing grain fill is good - on the deeper and more fertile sites, yields could still be very good. Wheat crops, almost irrespective of sowing date now, have raced ahead to GS 52-59, with earlier drilled crops of Cordiale, Gallant and Soissons having mostly finished flowering already.

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: disease pressure remains incredibly low again, with many crops having 5 clean leaves.

Eyespot: recent rain may cause some disease progression.

Blossom midge: most pheromone traps are only recording low midge numbers - <20-30 in 48 hours, however, there are a few locations where numbers are exceeding 100. Flowering crops now generally past risk of significant damage, but any non-midge resistant crops with ears emerging and few pollen sacs showing will potentially be at risk for next 5-7 days. Have also seen significant levels of lemon blossom midge adults in last few days in a few crops in Hampshire - based upon previous experience this can be more damaging than OWBMidge.

Aphids: none seen.

South West: Wheat crops are now at ear emergence to flowering 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. Spraying and fertiliser operations continue largely unhindered by the weather apart from a bit of wind mid week.

Mildew: building up on stressed crops.

Brown rust: none seen.

Yellow rust: no further outbreaks.

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: traps are out, although with spring rain largely absent this should reduce activity.

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

East Midlands: Many wheats at ear emerged or just emerging - the odd one starting to flower. Later crops after maize in boot. Crops on lighter soils starting to look stressed again with little or no rain in last week. Expect yields to be 10-20% down depending on soil type. Shortness of straw causing some concern re supply for livestock farmer. Little rain - only a couple of mm. Main problem has been wind which has reduced spray opportunities.

Mildew: earlier fungicide treatments prevented any development.

Yellow rust: none seen.

Septoria: crops remain clean to the ground.

Eyespot: stems have remained very clean.

Blossom midge: no reports of significant numbers but cooler nights and winds will have slowed them down.

Aphids: a few aphids found on bottom leaves of one crop but on the whole numbers low.

West Midlands: Light land Grafton starting to flower. Heavier soils will probably start flowering end of this week/Monday. Humber also in full ear but probably 2-3 days behind the Grafton. All remaining wheat crops are pushing ears out anywhere from 1/4 to 2/3rds out. Further isolated showers have helped to freshen wheat crops up (very high winds on Monday and Tuesday stripped moisture out of light land crops, medium/heavy soils still have moisture around roots). Where rainfall has reached 50 mm moisture could be found down to 15 cm last Friday.

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, and as high as leaf 3 in some thick crops.

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

Blossom midge: very few seen and wind has kept them at bay.

Aphids: none seen.

North East: Flag leaf emergence and booting happened very quickly, but since leaf sheaths starting to split development has almost stopped during last 7 days. This could be a simple reaction to the extreme earliness, or more likely the effects of the drought. There has only been 1 mm rainfall in last 7 days and weather predominated by sunshine and strong drying winds. First wheats generally still look ok but other crops are showing varying degrees of drought stress and some will not compensate for low tiller numbers even if there is substantial very soon.

Brown rust: none seen.

Yellow rust: no further outbreaks.

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: not expecting to see much pupation under present dry conditions. 6 pheromone traps checked this week and only 2 midges caught.

Aphids: none seen.

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Winter Barley

South East: All crops now at grain filling and in many cases look to be full of potential.

South West: Now flowering. All field operations now complete. In the west Winter Barley looks the pick of the crops and seems to have tolerated the hot dry April well. We hope the combine results are as pleasing as the current appearance!

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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