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Very close up shot of wheat crop ears in field

Report: 07 April 2015 (for week beginning 30 March 2015)

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

: The continued cool March weather has kept crop growth in check but the forecast for a more settled beginning to April should see oilseed rape crops start to flower over the coming week. Early sown wheat crops are now at GS 30 with the odd forward crop moving towards the first node stage. This means that for these September sown crops final leaf 4 will be emerging to fully emerged and many will see the first fungicide applied after Easter. Winter barley crops remain relatively clear of disease. Spring sowing has progressed well in most regions and some earlier drilled spring barley is now emerging. Sugar beet drilling still progressing with breaks during wet weather. Some farms have finished. Seedlings taking about 18 days to emerge. Light soils were blowing badly at the beginning of the week in Norfolk but hopefully most seedlings had not yet emerged. Rains have wetted seedbeds uniformly to seed depth.

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.: See results of our Spring assessment.

Barley disease levels remain low.:

Winter Wheat

image from FoL

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

South East: Crops range from early stem extension (November sowings) to early GS31 (Cordiale/Solstice) – cool weather in last few weeks, coupled with low soil N fertility has slowed leaf emergence, with most forward crops generally only having leaf 4 around 25-50% emerged, though there is the odd advanced crop of Solstice with leaf 3 now around 10% emerged on main shoots.

Aphids: none found.

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 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.

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 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 crops now at GS30/31 with leaf 4 emerging or emerged. Little change due to continuing cool 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: Many crops at GS30 with later crops at GS29. Cold nights and cold winds have slowed development. Rain and winds have stopped all fieldwork.

Brown Rust: none seen.

Mildew: trace levels only.

Septoria: plenty on older leaves but upper leaves clear so far.

Yellow Rust: none seen to date.

Eyespot: low amount.

Weed control: broad leafed 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. Most have managed to get their sulphur nitrogen applications on now, a few horrible messes and some fields still too wet to travel on.

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 in Leeds and some JB Diego.

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

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

North East: Late drilled crops are at GS22 whilst September drilled crops are at GS30, crops are beginning to extend. Crops looking well, with less disease compared to last year.

Brown Rust: none seen.

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

Septoria: early sown JB 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, odd Knotgrass and wild oats.

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Winter Oilseed Rape

image from FoL

Flower buds developing (picture from Farming Online).

South East: All crops are now in stem extension with buds visible and responding to first main N split – still some fields/areas struggling to get ahead of pigeons however.

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: Several field early green bud, remainder at various stages of stem extension. Very uneven growth across many fields. Often relatively spindly growth. Pigeons have not been too bad but grazing away from edges of some fields. A few flowers in places.

Phoma: no new sightings.

Light Leaf Spot: can be found easily in some fields but hard to find on other crops.

Cabbage Stem Flea Beetle: large numbers of CSFB larvae in stems of some plants but not universal in all fields. Not necessarily corresponding to areas where adult beetles were a problem. Larvae not seeming to enter buds.

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: Many crops at mid to late green bud with a few at early yellow bud.

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 range from early green bud to green bud. Some crops are utilising soil Nitrogen well this season owing to lower winter rainfall.

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 typically are still in 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: GS30 or very near. 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: Generally at GS30 and looking well. Plenty of Rhynchosporium on Glacier and a lot of pansies and mayweed on lighter land.

North East: Late tillering to start of stem extension. Crop is generally slower than we expected this year. 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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