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Report: 13 March 2015 (for week beginning 09 March 2015)

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

13 March 2015: A cold start to March has kept growth in check for most crops. Night frosts have also helped in keeping disease levels down. However, brown rust in winter wheat crops in the South and East can still be found whilst Yellow rust seems to be confined to the North East. Winter oilseed rape crops are waking up with flower buds begining to appear within the canopy. Cabbage Stem Flea Beetle larvae are at high numbers in some crops most noteably in areas where adult damage was highest in the autumn.


  • Final leaf 4 emerging in early sown forward wheat
  • Brown rust in South and East.
  • Light leaf spot more common.
  • Cabbage Stem Flea Beetle larvae high in some crops.
  • Barley disease levels remain low.

Winter Wheat

image from FoL

Brown rust at low levels

South East: Crops range from GS21 to early GS29. First N+S applications have been completed now on all bar the most fertile fields. Deep N soil results are showing lower levels of Soil N available than in 2014 – many fields are only around 25-40 kg N/ha.

Aphids: none found, but are still quite a number of crops that are only just getting delayed Pyrethroid sprays applied now – primarily on heavier/wetter fields.

Brown rust: still evident on lower leaves of September sown Crusoe in particular.

Mildew: mostly absent now following recent frosts and drier weather, but may increase on susceptible varieties now that new growth is underway again following N applications.

Septoria: very obvious on older leaves of all September and early October sown wheats.

Yellow rust: none seen to date.

Eyespot: some stem based browning visible now on earliest sown wheats.

Weed control: Blackgrass generally only low levels present in most fields following autumn residuals.

Eastern Counties: Early drilled are now at GS30. The vast majority of first and second wheats are at GS25. Late drilled after roots crops now at GS 23. Some second wheats have had 50-70kg N/ha or it is imminent. None on first wheats yet.

Brown rust: traces on thick areas eg overlaps in all varieties.

Mildew: traces on Leeds.

Septoria: obvious on old leaves in all situations.

Yellow rust: none seen to date.

Eyespot: none seen.

Weed control: main hotspots have had reasonable control from pre-ems but large overwintered weeds remain.

East Midlands: Crops vary from GS 23-25 with some new growth starting but up down temperatures are making them look a bit stressed. Soils drying out nicely and generally dry on top with a few wet headlands but travel without much damage. Soil temps vary from 4 deg C to7 deg C depending on whether night frosts.

Brown rust: none seen.

Mildew: none seen.

Septoria: can be found on older leaves

Yellow rust: none seen to date.

Eyespot: none seen.

Weed control: finally remaining blackgrass sprays going on this week. .

West Midlands: Final leaf 4 emerging in early sown crop of Grafton. Tiller numbers are high in most September sown crops and these will require careful management to keep them standing. The cold start to March is helping slow growth down. Nitrogen + sulphur applications are plodding along slowly some making a bit of a mess but most are staying well away from early sown wheat until next week.

Brown rust: none seen.

Mildew: pretty much non existent although it is present in susceptible varieties such as Leeds and Solstice.

Septoria: any early sown crops are as last year stuffed with Septoria on the lower leaves.

Yellow rust: none seen.

Eyespot: none seen.

Weed control: in the main broad leaved weed control has been very good (exception are min tilled second wheats where there are some quite hefty cleavers) also very noticeable how much cleaner the first wheats are after oilseed rape in terms of brome and wild oats.

North East: Crops mainly range between GS 23-25 whilst early sown forward crops are now at the beginning of stem extension.

Brown rust: none seen.

Mildew: recent frost keeping this at low levels, but traces on Leeds and early sown Invicta.

Septoria: early sown J B Diego worse than other years, Santiago also bad.

Yellow rust: odd sightings, seen on Dickens.

Eyespot: none seen.

Weed control: few spring germinators just starting to emerge odd Knot grass and wild oats.

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Winter Oilseed Rape

image from FoL

Flower buds developing.

South East: New green leaf growth is now evident in all crops in response to N+S applications – some fields struggling to get ahead of pigeons however! Older leaves have now mostly died back as early stem extension begins – many ungrazed crops have GAI’s of >1-1.5.

Phoma: no new leaf spots found.

Light Leaf Spot: beginning to find leaf symptoms now in arrange of varieties, including Campus, Trinity, Charger and even Amalie (LLS resistance rating 7), though still generally confined to individual plants rather than actual foci.

Cabbage Stem Flea Beetle: can only find very low levels of larvae in petioles of crops in our region – reflective of relatively minor adult beetle crop damage seen last autumn. However, I have seen serious larval petiole infestations in East Sussex (100 % plants with >5-10 larvae/plant) – shows how localised the problem can be.

Weed control: cranesbill – evident around headlands of a number of fields.

Eastern Counties: Some new growth showing in the centre of many crops. However, with the loss of leaf recently few have a canopy of approaching LAI 1 some measured recently were only LAI 0.2. Pigeon grazing is a lot less than in some years.

Phoma: no new sightings.

Light Leaf Spot: seeing more LLS although difficult to diagnose in the field. Applying some treatments before stem extension others due at stem extension.

Cabbage Stem Flea Beetle: can now see that larvae damage seems worse on earlier drilled crops and those that did not receive an early pyrethroid as they were growing away from any adult feeding. Where control of adults was poor in the autumn, larvae in the crop are easy to find.

Weed control: a few of the very large poppies seem to have escaped treatment but on the whole control has been good. The frost has controlled around 60% of charlock.

East Midlands: Forward thicker crops generally at GAI 1.5+ with more average crops at around 0.75 to 1. Some new growth now appearing with flower buds seen in the base of some crops. Forward crops getting treatment for LLS cover and to hold them a bit. Nitrogen now going on normal and backward crops with sulphur with some crops having the first application split to give a growth kick followed by further dose in couple of weeks particularly with the up down weather and temperatures.

Phoma: no new sightings.

Light Leaf Spot: generally low levels on more resistant varieties but easily found on Charger which is or will be sprayed as soon as conditions allow.

Cabbage Stem Flea Beetle: no damage seen.

Weed control: good control from residuals, probably the best for a couple of years

West Midlands: Most crops now at the stage where the green bud is just visible and stems are beginning to elongate. Pigeons have got worse over the last 5-6 weeks and are still going at crops where control is lacking

Phoma: no new sightings.

Light Leaf Spot: most noticeable on varieties with a 4/5 rating eg Charger and Cubic.

Cabbage Stem Flea Beetle: no damage to petioles.

North East: Crops are starting to extend and the centre shoots are greening up.

Phoma: no new sightings.

Light Leaf Spot: low levels detected

Cabbage Stem Flea Beetle: larvae found in few crops.

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Winter Barley

image from FoL

Crops mainly disease free.

South East: Crops range from GS 21 to mid-tillering. Disease levels remain low with only traces of Mildew, Net-blotch and Rhynchosporium.

Eastern Counties: Most crops GS 23-25. Disease levels remain low with only traces of Mildew, Net-blotch and Rhynchosporium apparent in thicker crops.

West Midlands: Earlier sown crops approaching end of tillering to GS 30. Brown rust seen on Belfry, Mildew on Glacier which despite the cold does look quite fresh. Most barley crops have moderate levels of cleavers and charlock and volunteer oilseed rape.

East Midlands: Crops are having N now and look a bit in need of a growth boost with growth generally at GS 23-25 and looking a bit pale. Mildew easily found on Glacier and Cassia on older leaves but mainly inactive due to night frosts and new growth is clean.

North East: Crops range from GS23-26. Crops remain free of disease with only traces of Mildew to be found.

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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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