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Report: 14 March 2016 (for week beginning 14 March 2016)

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

: 14 March 2016. A cold start to March has kept growth in check for most crops: night frosts have also helped in keeping disease levels down, this was the opening sentence to the crop report for 13 March 2015. Its the same in 2016. The only difference being that crops are more forward now than last year before the brakes went on. A forecast for the remainder of March to remain dry will help with field work. High pressure will dominate until after Easter according to the Met-Office.


Winter Wheat
  • Rusts levels not increasing
  • Frosts controlling mildew
  • Aphids in South and West
  • Early crops at GS31 in East
  • Final leaf 3 appearing in forward wheat
  • Blackgrass getting away
Winter Oilseed Rape
  • Light Leaf Spot at low levels
  • Buds visible in crops across all regions
Winter Barley
  • Diseases levels dropping with recent frosts

Winter Wheat

image from FoL

Yellow rust evident in crops (image from Farming Online).

South East: Crops range from GS21 to early GS29 – with earliest sown fields of Skyfall and Cordiale at leaf 5 emerging, however growth has largely stalled in the last two weeks due to run of colder days and frosty nights. Soil Deep-N tests are revealing no more than average to below average soil N levels, except where sludge or manures have been applied.

Brown Rust: still evident on older leaves of September sown Crusoe and Claire in particular, though recent colder conditions have slowed any progression to new leaf.

Yellow Rust: some localised foci can be found in Reflection, though frosts have generally burnt back infected leaf tissue.

Mildew: combination of low N status of most soils now and another run of frosty nights has further knocked back the prevalence of mildew since January.

Septoria: very obvious on older leaves of all September and early October sown wheats – a cool and dry March would be very helpful in reducing inoculum levels.

Eyespot: stem based browning can be readily found in earliest sown wheats, along with second wheat and wheat after oats.

Aphids: a low to moderate incidence of adults could be found in any unsprayed wheats drilled before 5th October.

Gout Fly: generally a lower incidence than last year, but many September crops have up to 20% “gouted” tillers.

Weed control: most uncontrolled blackgrass is now between GS21-29.

Eastern Counties: Crops range from GS23 – 31. The earliest drilled Gallant is now at GS31 on main shoot. There has been little change in the last two weeks. Wet areas are very visible now.

Brown Rust: trace levels in all varieties but more so on Santiago, Crusoe and Kielder.

Yellow Rust: traces on all susceptible varieties that didn’t have a rust active seed dressing.

Mildew: traces on all varieties but recent frosts have helped.

Slugs: activity slowed.

Weed control: blackgrass is evident in all usual hotspots.

East Midlands: Crops range between GS25 - 29. Crops standing still and some going backwards with blue leaves and fields taking a grey or yellow tinge as wet feet followed by cold feet kicks in. Cold weather followed by rain has put crops under some stress. Very little growth in the last two weeks. Many reports of soil N being lower than usual.

Brown Rust: none seen.

Yellow Rust: still present in some crops but cold weather has held it back a bit and should be OK until T0 timing for control.

Mildew: some on older leaves but frost holding it nicely.

Septoria: new growth has a low level but all older growth has now died off completely.

Aphids: none seen.

Weed control: many fields with tillering blackgrass. No change – waiting to spray and now becoming a situation where control may not be what we desire.

West Midlands: Final leaf 3 emerging on early sown crops of KWS Lili. Frosts have done a very good job of keeping Septoria, mildew, brown rust and yellow rust at bay so far in that majority of lower leaves on forward crops have died off, another frosty week this week will continue to help.

Brown Rust: traces on Crusoe and Leeds.

Yellow Rust: traces in all crops of Reflection and Revelation.

Mildew: traces on all varieties.

Septoria: early sown crops were full of Septoria on the bottom leaves but these have sloughed off with the frosts. Varieties Costello and Graham remain clean.

Aphids: still finding wingless aphids in early sown wheat crops.

Gout Fly: significant damage in some crops, at worst 70% - 80% of plants affected.

Slugs: some low activity in crops after oilseed rape.

Weed control: good selection of weeds emerging: groundsel, volunteer oilseed rape, poppy, wild oats and tame oats.

North East: GS 14 to GS 24, stem extension started forward crops. A few hard frosts in the last week have helped on disease pressure.

Brown Rust: none seen.

Yellow Rust: traces in Reflection, KWS Lili and KWS Kielder but no recent sightings.

Mildew: low levels in variety Leeds.

Septoria: more evident on early sown crops.

Aphids: easily found in forward cereals, particularly in sheltered areas.

Slugs: still active.

Gout Fly: severe damage in localised areas.

Weed control: blackgrass control: remaining populations well established, early drillings worst, up to 15 tillers.

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Winter Oilseed Rape

image from FoL

Light Leaf Spot present in all regions (image from Farming Online).

South East: With a run of cooler days and frosty nights, growth has slowed somewhat and crops have “shrunk” back and purpled up a bit and pigeons have become a real nuisance on around 25% of fields.

Light Leaf Spot: field symptoms now becoming quite widespread in many crops, particularly those that were last sprayed with fungicide in early December.

Phoma: renewed leaf spotting can be found in fields that had high infection levels last Autumn, even where they had a second fungicide applied by early December.

Club Root: severe symptoms found in only two fields so far.

Flea Beetle: fields that had moderate levels of larvae in petioles of crops in early February.

Aphids: can find low levels in unsprayed crops of Amelie (TuYV resistant).

Weed control: residual herbicide applications made prior to January look to be providing high levels of control of blackgrass – later applications are only just showing signs of activity.

Eastern Counties: Crops range from 5 true leaves to early stem extension and buds above the canopy. Most crops have a mix of growth stages in field, not dependant on variety. Little change over the last couple of weeks.

Flea Beetle: some crops that were attacked in the autumn have larvae in the leaf stems. Most crops are big enough to compensate.

Light Leaf Spot: first symptoms seen.

Phoma: some new symptoms starting to show.

Aphids: none seen.

Pigeons: have been a real pain in the last two weeks, big flocks grazing. This continues!

Weed control: variable control from residual herbicides as conditions generally too warm and weeds too well established at application time.

East Midlands: Some Charger with flower buds above canopy but colder weather holding crops back. A lot of crops now losing lower leaves with frost and some purpling occurring – no real change in growth. Some new growth but slow. First N destined to go on – some has been applied but a lot of first split to go on. Backward crops or pigeon damaged will be priority.

Light Leaf Spot: easily found now in Charger with other crops cleaner but frost damage is clouding the symptoms.

Phoma: Autumn sprayed crops remain clean, but again reports of high levels where no autumn fungicide applied.

Flea Beetle: none reported.

Aphids: none seen.

Weed control: Charlock now showing the effects of the frost with some good control.

West Midlands: Green buds visible on 75%+ of crops and some definitely starting to extend.

Light Leaf Spot: present at low levels - a lot of rape fields still too wet to travel.

Phoma: trace levels, single autumn spray seems to have done a pretty good job.

Aphids: very low levels.

Flea Beetle: none seen.

Weed control: Charlock/runch has taken a bit of a hit with the recent frosts.

North East: Stem extension started in many crops. Start of early bud in forward crops.

Flea Beetle: larvae present in most plants and in large numbers in south of the region.

Aphids: none seen.

Light Leaf Spot: low levels in all crops.

Phoma: trace levels.

Weed control: some very large cleavers after warm winter, some December germinated small cleavers.

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Winter Barley

South East: Crops range from GS22 to GS29. Low levels of mildew and Rhynchosporium but Net-blotch is on the rise.

Eastern Counties: GS30 common. Very little change in the last two weeks. Trace levels of mildew in all crops.

West Midlands: Little growth and still no crops yet at GS30 majority are GS23 - 27. Mildew declining in all crops. Brown Rust has disappeared. Net-blotch at low levels.

East Midlands: Again no change apart from increasing number of stressed yellow fields. Stress still showing in many fields with wet cold roots. Most crops at around GS25 with some forward ones at GS25 - 29. Mildew on some older leaves but frosts holding it back.

North East: Crops range from GS23 - 26. Mildew dying back with the frosts. Net-blotch developing.

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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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