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Very close up shot of wheat crop ears in field

Report: 27 March 2015 (for week beginning 23 March 2015)

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

: March seems to be reluctant to bring any spring like conditions to our shores and consequently crops have barley developed over the last fortnight responding only to increases in day length. However, looking back over the past five years end of March reports crops were not that much further forward than they are now. Oilseed rape crops remain free of pollen beetle but are at a vulnerable stage should temperatures increase over the next week. Rust levels in winter wheat crops remain low but residues of brown and yellow rust are present in crops in the south and east. Final leaf four is beginning to emerge in forward crops and the first fungicide applications (T0) are planned for the first week of April.

Final leaf 4 emerging in early sown forward wheat:

Brown rust in South and East:

Gout fly damage in many early sown wheat crops:

Light leaf spot more common:

Cabbage Stem Flea Beetle larvae high in some crops: Spring assessment results here

Barley disease levels remain low:

Winter Wheat

image from FoL

Brown rust at low levels (picture from Farming Online).

South East: Crops range from late tillering (November sowings) to early GS30 (Cordiale). Ground conditions are very good now following two weeks of largely dry weather.

Aphids: none seen.

Brown Rust: odd pustules still evident on lower leaves of September sown Crusoe and Cordiale.

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

Gout Fly: as expected following high numbers of eggs found on crops emerged in early October, “gouted” tillers can now be readily found on 50-75% of plants in these crops (c. 10% of sown wheat area).

Weed control: Blackgrass generally only at low levels present in most fields following autumn residuals. Moderate levels of meadow grass now in any unsprayed crops drilled in late October/November.

Eastern Counties: Early drilled (5/9/14 – 25/9/14) at GS30/31. Vast majority first and second wheats at GS25 .Late drilled after roots GS23. Little change due to the cold weather.

Brown Rust: traces on thick areas e.g. 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 over wintered weeds remain.

East Midlands: Crop growth slow but sure with cool conditions holding crops back. Most advanced at GS 29-30 but many at GS 25-29. Combination of cold days and night frosts have held soil temperatures down to around 5 deg with just a few days at 7-8 deg. Soils up to now dry on top and good for fieldwork.

Brown Rust: none seen.

Mildew: trace levels only.

Septoria: plenty on older leaves.

Yellow Rust: none seen to date.

Eyespot: low levels.

Weed control: broad weed levels very low with many crops completely clean.

West Midlands: Early sown wheat crops with leaf 4 half way out (GS 30+), majority of the crops have final leaf 5 out with leaf 4 emerging with the later sown stuff at mid-tillering. A few horrible messes and some fields still too wet to travel on. Some starting second time around this week (early sown forward crops delaying until week starting 6th April).

Brown Rust: none seen.

Mildew: starting to re-appear on crops of Leeds.

Septoria: very obvious on lower leaves of early sown crops.

Yellow Rust: low levels in Oakley.

Eyespot: trace levels on sheaths of Leeds and some JB Diego.

Gout Fly: most fields have got some plants with damage.

Weed control: Bromes seem much worse on second wheat min-tilled crops than those after rape or potatoes.

North East: Late drilled crops are at GS 22 whilst September drilled crops are at GS 24-30, crops are beginning to extend.

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, disease has not progressed with the cold dry weather.

Yellow Rust: odd sightings on Dickens, Santiago and of course Oakley.

Eyespot: none seen.

Weed control: a few spring germinators just starting to emerge such as odd Knot grass and wild oat.

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Winter Oilseed Rape

image from FoL

Flower buds developing (picture from Farming Online).

South East: All crops moving into early stem extension with buds visible now and responding to first main N split – still some fields struggling to get ahead of pigeons however! Many ungrazed crops had GAI’s of >1-1.5 in early March.

Phoma: no new leaf spots found.

Light Leaf Spot: becoming easy to find in most fields that have yet to be sprayed with Spring fungicide, though still generally confined to individual plants rather than actual foci.

Cabbage Stem Flea Beetle: still only find very low levels of larvae in petioles of crops in our region.

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

Eastern Counties: Stems extending slowly where not grazed. Buds becoming apparent above the canopy. Cold weather keeping growth slow. Most farms struggling to keep pigeons out of crops but flocks thinning as Spring drilling underway.

Phoma: no new sightings.

Light Leaf Spot: Charger and Palmedor are varieties where it is easily found on, but is present in all crops.

Cabbage Stem Flea Beetle: can now see that larvae damage seems worse on earlier drilled crops. 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: Flower buds now emerging on forward crops but later crops still at early extension. GAI vary from 0.75 up to 3 with in field variations in some crops depending on how much last autumn's dry weather held germination back.

Phoma: no new sightings.

Light Leaf Spot: at risk crops sprayed and new growth is now clean.

Cabbage Stem Flea Beetle: no damage seen.

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

West Midlands: All crops just starting to extend and push green buds out but growth is still slow due to continued cold conditions. Not expecting crops to start flowering until after Easter. Pigeons are more of a nuisance now than at any other time in the season.

Phoma: no new sightings.

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

Cabbage Stem Flea Beetle: no damage to petioles.

Pollen Beetle: none seen.

North East: Crops beginning to extend with forward crops now at early green bud stage. Many first fertiliser applications done in the last two weeks, some delays owing to windy weather.

Phoma: no new sightings.

Light Leaf Spot: low levels detected.

Cabbage Stem Flea Beetle: larvae found in only a few crops.

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Winter Barley

image from FoL

Crops mainly disease free (photo from Farming Online).

South East: Crops range from end of tillering to GS29. Low levels of Mildew can still be found in Cassia where crops are thick, Net-blotch and Rhynchosporium remain at low levels.

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: Most crops have yet to reach GS30. Surprising levels of Mildew considering the cold weather, to the extent where it is evident on newer growth, none looks too healthy but in the thicker crops there is too much to ignore.

East Midlands: Crops starting to grow and at GS 29+ but need some warm weather. Lots of Rhynchosporium on Glacier.

North East: GS 23-25, dry weather effecting late drilled crops. Crops remain relatively 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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