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Report: 29 March 2016 (for week beginning 28 March 2016)

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

: 29 March 2016. The first dry spell for months, ended abruptly this weekend but it had helped catch up with field work. Fertiliser applications have been going a pace and crops are slowly beginning to respond. Crops though have been on pause for most of March and despite the early growth stages recorded in February crops are now no more advanced than usual. Winter Oilseed rape crops are just starting to flower in the east but elsewhere they are mainly at green bud. Spring drilling though has been slower than hoped as soils are taking time to dry out.


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
  • First flowers in eastern regions
  • No reports of pollen beetle yet
Winter Barley
  • Diseases levels dropping with recent dry weather and frosts

Winter Wheat

image from FoL

Yellow rust lingers (photo from Farming Online).

South East: Crops range from GS21 to early GS29/30 – with earliest sown fields of Skyfall, Cordiale and Reflection with tip of leaf 4 now emerging, however growth has largely stalled in the last 2 weeks or so due to run of colder days and nights with soil temperatures dropping back to between 5-6 Celsius. Soils are drying up well on the surface, but remain wet (and cold) an inch or so below.

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 Nitrogen 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 – cool and dry conditions of last 10-14 days have certainly helped in reducing visible inoculum levels on newer growth.

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 – most crops that were awaiting weather delayed Pyrethroid sprays (primarily on heavier/wetter fields) were sprayed 10-14 days ago but there will almost certainly be some BYDV evident in these crops once growth commences.

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

Weed control: most blackgrass is now between GS23-30.

Eastern Counties: Most crops have leaf 4 half emerged, most forward have leaf 4 fully emerged. Still cool so no rapid growth yet. Crops are greening up now as fields drain and fertiliser is picked up. All wheats have had 30-50 kg/ha Nitrogen plus Sulphur. Second wheats have had up to 100 kg/ha Nitrogen.

Brown Rust: trace levels only, T0 imminent.

Yellow Rust: trace levels on all susceptible varieties that didn't have a rust active dressing. Cool weather has slowed development.

Mildew: traces on all varieties. Recent frost has helped.

Slugs: activity slowed.

Weed control: Blackgrass is evident in all usual hotspots.

East Midlands: Slow development with many crops at GS29-29+ with a few crops at GS30. Later crops at GS25-29. Some signs of tiller loss in a few crops due to wet feet and cold soils. GAI vary from 0.5 to 0.75 but need some sun to get growth and tillers going. Generally fields travel well but a few wet patches remain. First Nitrogen finally on.

Brown Rust: none seen.

Yellow Rust: levels remain low and should be OK now until T0 treatment.

Mildew: levels very low but old dead mildew on Leeds could herald a fresh surge if weather conducive.

Septoria: old growth dying off and so far new growth clear.

Aphids: none seen.

Weed control: sprays now on and waiting to see how well they work but tillering blackgrass and resistance not a recipe for good control. Most fields surprisingly very clean of broad leaved weeds and no concern – perhaps milder weather will bring the weeds out if they haven’t drowned.

West Midlands: The cold weather has almost normalised crop growth stages. Most wheat crops are also almost back where they should be apart from KWS Lili with its leaf 3 poking out, but again no real change in the last three weeks. Sunday night/Monday morning got down to -4C. Some late wheats and second wheat crops without manure under them are getting a second N split this week. Ground conditions are excellent (no rain recorded last week which is the first totally dry week since the beginning of November).

Brown Rust: severely checked by the cold snap.

Yellow Rust: severely checked by the cold snap.

Mildew: now virtually non-existent.

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.

Slugs: no new activity.

North East: A dry week has allowed all but heavy soils to dry out. Good spraying and fertiliser spreading weather. Top dressings on second wheat, mostly completed. Applications on first wheats started. Crops range from GS14 to GS30.

Brown Rust: none seen.

Yellow Rust: developing on Reflection, KWS Lili, Claire, Belepi, Horatio and Oakley.

Mildew: low levels in variety Leeds.

Septoria: more evident on early sown crops.

Aphids: still finding odd aphid.

Gout Fly: severe damage in localised areas.

Weed control: blackgrass control - where pre-emergence and stacking done on time, good results being observed.

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Winter Oilseed Rape

image from FoL

Green bud in many crops (photo from Farming Online).

South East: With a continuation of generally cooler days and frosty nights, growth is slow and pigeons have become a real nuisance on around 25% of fields. Crops range from early stem extension with buds enclosed (Amalie) to early green bud (Campus).

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

Phoma: no recent sightings.

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

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, even some with yellow flowers starting to show! Most crops have a mix of growth stages in field, not dependant on variety. Some crops racing away, others struggling to move away. In general crops have gone backwards due to pest attacks! Up to 160 kg/ha Nitrogen gone on backward crops with Sulphur. Big canopies only just about to receive some Nitrogen before they get too big for accurate spreading.

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: not difficult to find some spots.

Phoma: some new symptoms starting to show.

Aphids: none seen.

Pigeons: really hitting crops hard still. Some severe grazing where no attention to scaring.

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

East Midlands: Forward crops at late green to yellow bud stage with a few showing first flowers. Final Nitrogen to be held back on forward crops – many forward crops have GAI of 2.0-2.5.

Light Leaf Spot: finally all sprays on, especially the at risk crops.

Phoma: Autumn sprayed crops remain clean.

Pollen Beetle: no sign of any yet.

Aphids: none seen.

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

West Midlands: Crops on light land are responding to Nitrogen and taking off, most crops are now showing green buds above the canopy.

Light Leaf Spot: most crops now treated.

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. Most early Nitrogen applications complete.

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

Aphids: none seen.

Light Leaf Spot: more readily seen in crops where treatments have been late.

Phoma: trace levels.

Pigeons: have been more problematic than last year, stripping leaf from many crops.

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Winter Barley

South East: Crops range from GS29 to GS30. Nitrogen and Sulphur applications now mostly completed. Low levels of mildew, mostly brown and inactive, but low levels can still be found in Cassia and Glacier. Rhynchosporium and Net-blotch remain at low levels.

Eastern Counties: GS30-31 common in good crops on good soil. Crops starting to green up. Disease levels remain low.

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 but BYDV patches beginning to show.

East Midlands: Most crops at around GS29 and Nitrogen now applied to most crops. Disease levels remain low.

North East: Crops range from GS23 to stem extension in forward crops. Disease levels remain low.

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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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