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Very close up shot of wheat crop ears in field

Report: 26 April 2013 (for week beginning 22 April 2013)

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

: A little more warmth this week has helped crops developed but rain is needed to really get growth going. Mid- September sown crops of wheat now have final leaf three emerging and T1 fungicides are planned for these crops now. Majority of October sown wheat crops still have final leaf four emerging. Disease levels remain low in dry conditions. Winter rape crops slowly beginning to flower but backward or pigeon damaged crops are still struggling to develop a decent canopy. Spring sowings continue but with seed beds drying out emergence is now delayed.

: Pollen beetle levels remain low

: T1 for early sown winter wheat crops.

: Rhynchosporium developing in the South.

: Oilseed rape first flowers appearing.

: Check for Club Root in slow to grow crops.

: Yellow rust in Oakley

: Slugs return

Pollen Beetle: Migration into crops starts when temperatures reach 15 0C which according to the Met Office forecast is unlikely to happen until the end of next week. Damage from pollen beetle could be more severe this year as crops struggle to develop after prolonged pigeon attack and cold weather. Crops are at their most vulnerable stage between the green and yellow bud stage. Threshold levels have been amended recently and are now based on plant population. The rationale to basing the threshold on plant population is that low plant population will produce more branches and therefore more flowers.

Pollen beetle threshold levels of per plant:
- <30 plants/m2 ~ 25 pollen beetles/plant
- 30-50 plants/m2 ~ 18 pollen beetles/plant
- 50-70 plants/m2 ~ 11 pollen beetles/plant
- >70 plants/m2 ~ 7 pollen beetles/plant

Bayer have a useful tool for predicting pollen beetle migration: click here to view

Winter wheat leaf emergence summary: Mid-September sown crops now have final leaf 3 between 30 - 75% emerged, some forward plants even have final leaf 2 just visible. Early October sowings have final leaf 4 at 30 - 75% emerged. This time last year we were reporting that most winter wheat crops had final leaf 3 emerged with final leaf 2 up to 50% emerged on forward crops. The most forward crops had Flag leaves visible on 5 May 2012.

Winter Wheat

image from FoL

Wind erosion leads to sand blow as dry weather continues.

South East: With some warm Spring days in the last week, and rising soil temperatures, crops have begun to grow rapidly, particularly those sown before mid-October. September sown wheats are now extending rapidly and are between GS30-31+ with leaf 3 up to 30% emerged on Gallant and Cordiale, just showing in Diego and Solstice, and leaf 4 up to 30-50% emerged on Claire, Scout and Grafton. Otherwise most later sown crops are now in early stem extension around GS29-30. Crops sown in January/February are at early tillering stages.

Septoria tritici: September sown Cordiale and Scout are showing high levels of infection on leaf 5 and below.

Slugs: some renewed foliar shredding seen in crops on heavier ground after oilseed rape with adult slugs readily visible on dewy mornings.

Weed control: all unsprayed fields requiring blackgrass control have now been sprayed in the last 7 days. Brome levels lower this year.

Eastern Counties: Majority of wheat is now reaching growth stage 30. However, some crops are still only 3-4 leaves. Fields are dry but with moisture under the surface. It has been warm dry and windy. Second doses of nitrogen are on the whole complete and some are beginning their third.

Septoria tritici: trace levels on lower leaves.

Yellow rust: reports of some crops of Torch infected.

Eyespot: can find stem based browning but difficult to diagnose as eyespot.

Weed control: where pre ems were used we have had good blackgrass and broadleaf control

East Midlands: Final leaf 4 just starting to unfurl on forward crops, but many crops at GS30+ with the final leaf 4th leaf just appearing. Many crops in a state of standstill as dry conditions have not led to expected rush of growth. It is hard to see many crops yielding above 7 t/ha or even less. T1 timings look about 10-14 days away yet. Soils in top 2 inches very dry and dusty. After 12 months of wet we now need some rain to get fertiliser working! Nitrogen going on in drip feed fashion with 50-70 kg on now and final dressing at GS 32 whenever that may be. This final dressing will be adjusted up or down depending on crop potential.

Septoria: Older leaves dying off and new green growth showing no major infection. T0 gone on better crops or septoria weak crops this week.

Eyespot: levels remain low.

Yellow rust: none seen.

Weed control: some blackgrass rooted near surface frost lifted and droughting off so some concern over herbicide uptake. Plants can be picked off the surface with no root system. No major flush of spring weeds yet.

West Midlands: Mid September sown crops of Grafton, Humber and Solstice all have leaf 3 emerging and are ready for T1 fungicides, unfortunately there are not enough of these. Early October crops, however, have final leaf 4 emerging and will probably be ready for T1 in early May. Although forward crops are growing well the thin late crops are going backwards yet again. We need rain to get crops moving. Applying half of the final dose of nitrogen to the late wheats, full final dose to be applied to the forward/normal wheat next week.

Mildew: trace levels in base of crop on forward Humber.

Septoria tritici: very evident on the forward crops, whatever variety, none on new leaves.

Yellow Rust: traces and developing on Oakley.

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

Weed control: busy week getting up to date with herbicide applications and most now on.

North East: Most winter wheat crops now at GS 23 and moving towards stem erect. The average temperature for the week was 9.4 degree which has helped with crops greening up. Tillering on healthy plants is good. There was only 0.8 ml rain over the week. Soils are loosing moisture in the drying winds. Noticeable lack of diseases compared to this time in previous years.

Septoria tritici: active on lower leaves of some varieties.

Yellow rust: none seen.

Wheat bulb fly: low levels in some crops.

Weed control: warmer weather bringing out early spring weeds.

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Winter Oilseed Rape

image from FoL

Watch out for Pollen Beetle in backward crops.

South East: Most advanced and ungrazed crops are between green bud and yellow bud with odd flowers beginning to show now. All crops have had 150-175 kg/ha N (+S) applied ahead of green bud. Top-up doses to 200-220kg/ha are being applied now to stronger/more normal crops and backward/grazed crops will have a balance applied depending on the extent (or otherwise) of crop recovery in the next 2 weeks.

Club root: one field seen recently, that has had no previous history of club root, but now has around 75% infection of all plants. Suggest that any fields/patches not growing away strongly in the next week or so are investigated for club root symptoms.

Light leaf spot: infection can be easily seen in unsprayed crops on older leaves in crops that have been relatively ungrazed. Quartz, Agatha and Alienor appear to be the worst affected varieties currently.

Phoma: no new infection.

Pollen beetle: still only finding low levels of adults - up to 2 beetles per plant now in places.

Weed control: significant populations of cleavers and mayweed.

Eastern Counties: Most forward crops coming into flower while pigeon hammered crops still barely 15cm high in stem extension and producing some small leaves with green buds visible above. Still waiting to see if these backward crops manage to branch at all. Final N application being made at yellow bud which is now for many crops tending to treat backward crops at the same time. Very dry with little rain. Hopefully managed to get the main N dressings washed in.

Light Leaf Spot: Some Proline applications being made for low levels of LLS in backward crops which received no autumn fungicides taking the opportunity to add boron and other trace elements where required.

Sclerotinia: planning flowering sprays for sclerotinia around an anticipated shorter flowering period. Will try to be on the early side targeting early flower where no previous spring fungicide has been applied and then make the decision re a second flowering spray depending on weather conditions.

Pollen beetle: still monitoring but levels are low maybe 1 per 10 plants. Crops which rapidly come into flower will be past the risk but the backward ones are more likely to suffer if pollen beetles continue to come into the crop.

East Midlands: Some crops showing a spurt of growth but many still only just at green bud and short - side shoots are there but will they produce anything is the main question especially if it remains dry. Final N aimed at yellow bud when decision will be made on final amounts depending on how crops look. Spring rape drilled with some variable emergence reported where heavier soil in fields.

Light leaf spot: very little seen.

Pollen beetle: just one or two pollen beetle seen and generally non existent so far and cooler weather this weekend will slow them down.

Weed control: Shield or equivalent to go on when conditions allow for mayweed before flower buds get too prominent.

West Midlands: Forward crops just beginning to flower, a fortnight later than last year. However, there have been more crops pulled up over the last week as they were struggling to survive and these will now go into spring oilseed rape. Concern now is that we are sowing into dry seedbeds.

Light leaf spot: no obvious signs yet. Proline being applied since mid last week to crops that have been looked after, most will probably go beginning of next week

Pigeons: still present.

Pollen beetle: found first pollen beetle today 24 April, on one crop near the Severn, average might just amount to 1/plant.

Weed control: flush of groundsel and field pansy coming through in pigeon damaged crops. There are going to be some dirty crops come harvest this year.

North East: Most crops now at green bud stage with the odd forward crops showing yellow bud. In some backward crops the flower buds have been eaten by pigeons.

Pigeons: damage, still a problem on backward vulnerable crops.

Light leaf spot: slight increase to levels seen last week on forward crops.

Weed control: wild oats starting to emerge. Odd thistles being controlled

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Winter Barley

South East: most advanced crops are now at around GS30-31. Final N applications being made now by the end of April - target N totals are 150-165 kg/ha on Malting and 175-200 on Feed barleys.

Eastern Counties: Crops have perked up over the last 5 days with the backwards ones putting on leaf. Some are very thick up to growth stage 31. Disease levels remain low.

East Midlands: Crops approaching GS 30. Final N will go on in about 7-10 days depending on growth. Disease levels remain low.

West Midlands: Barley crops have picked up but are still behind their normal development stage. Disease levels remain low.

North East: Crops on average at GS 24 to GS 30. Good tillering generally. Spring barley up to GS 11 but dry weather continuing to delay germination in odd spring crop.

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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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