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Very close up shot of wheat crop ears in field

Report: 22 March 2013 (for week beginning 18 March 2013)

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

: Another week of little growth and even less field work although some spring barley has been sown on the lighter land. Oilseed rape crops are still very vulnerable to pigeons with reports that they are continuing to damage small crops. The most forward crops now have green buds appearing but as yet still no significant stem extension. The most forward winter wheat crops are just moving towards GS 30 but these are in the minority. Disease levels, unsurprisingly, remain low but there are reports of low levels of yellow rust in a very few crops. Mildew is now nonexistent.

Blackgrass needs controlling:

Trace levels of yellow rust:

No increase in Light Leaf Spot:

Winter Wheat

image from FoL

Septoria on lower leaves of winter wheat.

South East: 25-30mm of rain and a continuation of easterly dominated winds have largely prevented any meaningful fieldwork in the last week, and with soil temperatures stubbornly stuck at around 4oC, there has been negligible crop growth again. Crops really do need some milder days and nights now to encourage plenty of vegetative growth over the next 3-4 weeks ahead of stem extension. Looking increasingly likely that there will be little T0 spraying undertaken, particularly on later drilled crops (about 70% of WW area), instead a T1/T2/T3 programme looks more likely.

Blackgrass: due to lack of residuals applied to most fields last autumn, many fields have a level of blackgrass evident ranging from three leaf stage in November sown wheats to tillering in September/early October sown crops. However, applications are unlikely to take place before the end of March based on forecast of another cold week to come.

Eastern Counties: It?s hardly been noticeable, but some fields sown in mid ? late September have just begun to stand-up over the last week or so. On dissecting forward tillers of varieties like Gallant these remain a couple of weeks or so away from GS 30 or ear at 1 cm, with the ?gap? at the stem base barely 1 or 2 mm in size. So, early crops should get to T-zero early in April, or just after Easter. Varieties like Solstice and Santiago drilled at a similar time are just a few days behind. For October sowings, it will be well into April before the T0 timing.

Septoria tritici: trace levels on lower leaves.

Weed control: grass weeds now tillering where they haven't been controlled by autumn applications, this includes blackgrass, ryegrass, meadow grass and bromes.

East Midlands: No change over the last week with crops stressed but by cold weather which has once more prevented any growth. Growth stages generally anywhere from 1 leaf to 3 tillers with some concern over potential for the very late crops which are just standing still. Nitrogen applied and some signs of starting to take effect but painfully slow.

Septoria tritici: on older leaves but not to high levels.

Weed control: blackgrass starting to tiller on some fields. Annual meadow grass remains low as do broad leaved weeds but expect flush once milder weather kicks in.

West Midlands: Forward crop of Humber just starting to extend on main stem. Other than this most crops seem to have pretty much stood still since 4-5 weeks ago. Noticeable this week that lighter land crops do appear to have greened up (tends to be the earlier sown crops) which I guess have better root systems. Field conditions are varied dependent upon rainfall and snow fall. Fields drilled in good conditions are not too bad and would travel at a push, late sown crops that were mauled in are once again like a pudding. Way too cold to think about applying any herbicides (contact that is ) OR fungicides.

Septoria tritici: very obvious on lower leaves on forward crops.

Yellow Rust: trace levels found on crop of Gallant but others including Oakley remain free.

Fusarium/Eyespot: early symptoms on stem bases in some but not all crops.

Weed control: where no autumn herbicides applied there are some very large grass weeds as well as cleavers and a fine selection of other broad-leaved weeds. However, no chance of applying any product.

North East: Another wet week and still no change in growth stage with most wheats remaining at GS 23/24. Crops slowly recovering from wet/cold weather damage and appear a little greener.

Septoria tritici: active on lower leaves of some varieties.

Weed control: herbicide applications have been delayed by the rains and cold weather.

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Winter Oilseed Rape

image from FoL

Signs of new growth

South East: Pigeons still remain a real nuisance in around 30-50% of crops, stripping some of them bare ? desperately need a milder spell to encourage some new growth. Most advanced and ungrazed crops have flower buds enclosed in growing points now.

Light leaf spot: beginning to find some infection foci now in around 30-40% of crops that have been relatively ungrazed. Quartz and Agatha appear to be the worst affected varieties currently.

Phoma: no new infection.

Weed control: significant populations of cleavers and mayweed appearing but waiting for milder weather before applying herbicide.

Eastern Counties: Still very cold and wet but some light land crops in particular have responded a little to the applied nitrogen and shown some growth. Slowly moving into stem extension.

Phoma: Phoma spotting obvious but the majority of crops were treated in November and the lesions are old.

Light Leaf Spot: no change on last week with ?mealy? type marks on many rape leaves. But most are due to the weather, some are fertiliser scorch (obvious) and a few are LLS. We need to continue to monitor crops closely

Pigeons: continue to be a real problem and need to be kept off crops at all costs.

Weed control: still waiting for the weather to warm before making herbicide applications for surviving charlock in the bottom of the crop. None of the spring spraying has been done yet.

East Midlands: Rape continues to go backwards as a combination of slow growth and high pigeon numbers continue to take their toll. With cold weather forecast to continue the situation is becoming serious on some farms as we need growth to judge the true potential of crops.

Phoma: with a lot of unsprayed crops I expect to see some phoma in crops this year.

Light leaf spot: not a lot of leaf to get any yet.

Weed control: some crops to get herbicide when conditions (i.e. milder weather and active growth) occur. Problem could be that flower buds will emerge rapidly once growth gets going.

West Midlands: Some crops with buds just starting to show, rape seems to be growing more than some other crops but oh so slowly.

Phoma: still crops in need of treatment.

Light leaf spot: no obvious signs yet.

Pigeons: as bad as ever and needs constant attention particularly on the small crops.

Weed control: frosts have knocked back some of the larger charlock plants. Too cold to apply any herbicide for mayweed control.

North East: Flower buds visible on many plants. Forward crops showing signs of growth but backward crops are still vulnerable to pigeons.

Pigeons: a lot of damage to crops.

Phoma: no new lesions seen on new leaves.

Light leaf spot: no new signs of disease.

Weed control: larger Runch and Charlock have been checked by the recent frosts.

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Winter Barley

South East: Most advanced crops are now at around GS24-29, no change to previous week.

Eastern Counties: Crops at the three to four tiller stage with very little disease.

East Midlands: Little or no change in growth stages. Manganese to go on when conditions allow before deficiency gets hold.

West Midlands: Most forward at start of tillering. Traces of Net-blotch and Rhynchosporium. Frost has seen off any mildew that was trying to develop.

North East: Most crops range from GS23 to 24. Some Net-blotch lesions seen on forward lush crops. Waterlogging damage now showing up.

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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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