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Very close up shot of wheat crop ears in field

Report: 16 March 2012 (for week beginning 12 March 2012)

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

: A return to mild conditions has encouraged growth and many crops are at least two weeks in advance of this time last year. Yellow rust reported from all regions except the South with the NE reporting highest levels of infection, varieties infected include Oakley, Robigus, Humber, Santiago, Solstice, Viscount and Conqueror. Many oilseed rape crops now at early green bud stage and time to assess crop size for growth regulators.

Yellow rust: in East, NE and Midlands.

Brown rust: in east and south - keep monitoring.

Oilseed rape: check GAI for growth regulatory fungicides.

Light leaf spot: in south.

Net-blotch and Rhycosporium: developing in the North East.

Winter Oilseed Rape

image from FoL

Green bud stage in oilseed rape

South East: All crops now at stem extension to early green bud. First N+S has been applied to all crops, with first main nitrogen dose also been/being applied except on strongest/greenest looking crops, which will wait until last week of March.

Phoma: no significant renewed spotting seen to date.

Light Leaf Spot: being found widely at around 10-20% infection levels in most crops/varieties in last two weeks and particularly those that only had one autumn Phoma/PGR spray applied.

Weed control: Charlock and Runch - there were heavy populations in some fields. December or January, hard frosts look to have assisted in achieving some spectacular levels of control, with some fields appearing brown in places from the road.

Eastern Counties: Very varied rates of growth, some very forward rape with plenty of leaf and starting stem extension at GAI 2+, to some more backward rape at GAI <0.5. Varieties seem to differ in their early growth. Some fields lost a fair amount of older leaf during cold weather, pigeons have also trimmed others back. Each crop needs assessing on a field to field basis.

Light leaf spot: small amounts seen in West Norfolk below threshold levels.

Pigeons: have had a bit more of an impact recently and the crop is now at a critical stage when flower buds are beginning to show. There is a need to be vigilant for a couple of weeks more.

Pollen Beetle: check crops for pollen beetle on warm settled days. Temps are low again this week and so the beetles are not currently in the crop although there are reports of beetles in crops in south of the region.

Weed control: spindly tall charlock which was well above the crop was killed by the cold weather and although it flowered it does not appear to have set viable seed.

East Midlands: Flower buds starting to show in many crops especially any pigeon damaged areas where the buds are rising above any canopy left. GAI range from about 1.5 to over 3.

Light Leaf Spot: levels remain low with just the odd plant showing any.

Pollen Beetle: no high levels of pollen beetle found yet although the odd bolted flower has one or two on.

West Midlands: Majority of crops now have buds starting to appear above the crop on the odd plant, and have doubled in height over the last 7-10 days.

Pigeons: just beginning to come into some crops - big flocks around.

Phoma: no new infections.

Light Leaf Spot: very low levels in some crops.

Pollen beetle: just the odd beetle found but cooler conditions keeping them at bay.

Weed control: all herbicide applications made. Patience has paid off with very little crop effect seen with applications made over the last 4 weeks.

North East: Most forward crops are now 'buds proud', but majority of crops still have buds within the crop canopy. Crops have good colour and grew very quickly during recent warm spell. They have slowed a little now but are at least 10-14 days ahead of last year.

Light Leaf Spot: a few lesions can be seen in crops now but the level is not causing concern.

Phoma: no further infections seen.

Pollen Beetle: none seen yet.

Weed control: There are still a few herbicide applications planned.

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Winter Wheat

image from FoL

Yellow rust in Oakley 14 March 2012

South East: All crops now responding to applied nitrogen and have greened up again very rapidly in last few weeks of mild weather. Crops range from late tillering to GS29 (late October+sowings) to early stem extension GS 30 (September sowings) with leaf 4 up to 75% emerged now on Gallant/Solstice. Soils are generally still damp, but traveling very well. If we are going to have a 'drought', lets hope we get enough rain every 2 weeks or so to keep crops going.

Brown rust: sharp frosts in February have dramatically reduced foliar symptoms, however pustules just beginning to reappear now, particularly in September crops of Claire, Cordiale, Gallant, Target and Solstice.

Mildew: high levels were present in many earlier sown fields of Solstice, Gallant, Claire and Cordiale, but pustules effectively browned up by February frosts, with very little sign to date of any fresh pustules.

Yellow rust: no foci or leaf pustule stripes seen within last 3 weeks.

Weed control: where blackgrass present all spring applications of Herbicide have now been completed. However, wheat fields that in harvest 2010 had spray applications delayed until the Spring of 2010 and had poor resultant blackgrass control, are now exhibiting quite high levels of Blackgrass plants unaffected by herbicide (only 50-60% control in some cases). Fortunately, this is a small percentage of fields, but is nonetheless a worrying development.

Eastern Counties: Crops range from 2 tillers after sugarbeet to 10 tillers and some wheat at GS31. There are some very tall thick crops.

Brown rust: easily found in some crops. Varieties include Claire, Grafton, Hereford, Santiago and Invicta.

Yellow rust: seen on a range of wheat varieties, with Oakley, Humber, Santiago and Solstice being affected.

Mildew: most crops exhibiting a fair amount of disease.

Eyespot: low levels in very forward crops. We are expecting high levels this year as early drilled and crops very thick.

Weed control: crops that have not received a treatment this spring may well need herbicide additions for broadleaved weeds and cleavers at T0 and/or T1 timings.

East Midlands: Forward crops at GS 30 with majority at GS 29-30, later drilled after maize at GS 29. Manganese deficiency continues to show in some crops.

Brown rust: none seen.

Yellow rust: easily found in Oakley but none in other crops. T0 going on now on Oakley and in a few days on forward susceptible crops.

Mildew: plenty of old mildew on lower leaves of Solstice, Gallant and Claire but little new mildew so far. Recent days have been misty and cold probably holding it a bit.

Septoria: plenty of usual septoria on older leaves shows risk is high.

Eyespot: plenty found in Solstice and Gallant.

Weed control: very varying results of blackgrass control and some fields coming back with low to moderate resistance but some fields very clean while others have blackgrass plants scattered across them.

West Midlands: Crops range from GS21 to GS30 with early sown Solstice at GS 31 on the main stem and approx 12" tall. Some Grafton getting towards a similar state!

Brown rust: none seen.

Yellow rust: traces in Oakley and Conqueror.

Mildew: thought the cold weather would have set the mildew back but certainly on the high risk varieties it looks to be appearing on new growth at low levels.

Septoria: lots of septoria in the base of many crops.

Weed control: wild oats easy to find with spring germinators coming through since mid February and also easy to find. A lot more cleavers around this year and more poppies have survived what winter we had.

North East: Some Duxford and Viscount at GS31 (just). Many crops at GS 30, and even the latest sown are fully tillered and will be GS 30 within 7 - 14 days. Locally there were 18 mm rainfall in February, and a welcome 29mm so far this month. Consequently fields are travelling well and so far crops also look very good having recovered from the short cold snap.

Brown Rust: low levels seen in the most susceptible varieties, such as Duxford and Grafton.

Yellow Rust: there is a serious yellow rust epidemic in the area now in Oakley. Also present in Santiago and Viscount but to a much lesser degree.

Mildew: only the most resistant varieties are clean such as Warrior and Viscount. All the rest have varying levels of infection.

Eyespot: the level of infection seen has the potential to become a significant problem in many crops.

Weed control: Cranesbill is the most common broad leaved weed, and there are some severe infestations.

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Winter Barley

South East: Crops now range in growth stage from GS29-30 - all crops have tillered well this year. February frosts have browned up most mildew pustules.

Brown rust: pustules still very evident in many crops even after frosts.

Eastern Counties: Most crops have at least 4 tillers. Most forwards are up to 7 or 8 tillers and just below wellington boot height. Some looking as though could lodge.

Net-blotch: is developing in some varieties such as Flagon and Cassata.

Brown rust: present in Carat and Pearl.

East Midlands: Crops at GS 23-24 and look well. Good control from autumn mildewicide but return of milder conditions may get it going again.

West Midlands: Crops range from late tillering to GS 30 particularly early sown hybrid 6 row. Frost has resolved any lingering mildew issues for now. Very little Net-blotch or Rhyncosporium and no brown rust.

North East: All crops are at leaf sheath erect stage (GS 30)

Net-blotch and Rhyncosporium: at significant levels in most crops.

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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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