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Very close up shot of wheat crop ears in field

Report: 23 April 2010 (for week beginning 19 April 2010)

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

Dry conditions: continue to keep crops short and sparse and rain needed to wash in last nitrogen applications.

Winter oilseed rape: slowly coming into flower but watch out for pollen beetle in backward crops.
Sclerotinia control planned (see comments below).

Winter wheat: crops are short but don't be fooled as leaf 3 is emerging and T1 fungicide decisions need to be made.

Winter barley: has leaf two emerging and flag leaf expected by end of April.

Spring beans: bean weevil damage already occurring in emerging crops.

Winter Oilseed Rape

image from FoL

Slowly coming into flower.
Excalibur on the right,
Castille on the left.
Photo Farming Online.

: Pollen Beetle Control Thresholds

Winter oilseed rape

15 pollen beetles/plant in well grown crops that can compensate for damage by producing more and larger seeds in lower pods.

5 pollen beetles/plant in backward crops, e.g. ones that have suffered frost or pigeon damage.

South East: Mostly early yellow bud to early flowering - ES Alienor still the most advanced variety. Crops generally looking reasonable, although some could really do with rain to wash in final doses of nitrogen now. Any pigeon grazing has now mostly ceased as crops extend.

Light leaf spot: only very low levels in evidence.

Sclerotinia: night time air and soil temperatures are currently too low for apothecial development, however with wet soils underneath and a high water table after the wet spring, sclerotia will germinate freely once it gets warm enough and consequently this could well be a very high risk year if wet weather arrives around flowering. Current forecast is for wetter weather to arrive at end of next week ie. at around early to mid-flowering - most crops will be sprayed ahead of rain at yellow bud to first flowers.

Pollen beetle: as per previous week, a few warm days at end of last week saw large numbers of pollen beetle arriving in some crops, with 15-20 beetles being found quite widely in fields sheltered from winds and more backward crops having 5+/plant. Early flowering varieties such as ES Alienor are generally too far advanced (with 10%+ flower showing) to be at risk - a management and physiological advantage over later flowering types such as DK Cabernet?

South West: Rapid growth continuing with fields starting to look more yellow than green. Growth has not been affected by the dry conditions as much as wheat since N uptake is much earlier in the rape crop.

Light leaf spot: new growth very clean.

Pollen beetle: exploded in some areas with the onset of warm weather and a few crops reached threshold. Recent cooler days have seen a reduction in activity and as crops flower risk diminishes.

Eastern Counties: Growth and development has slowed down again with dry weather and cold nights. Most advanced rape is only slowly coming into flower 20-30% and least advanced has only got the odd flower showing. DK Cabernet is a variety which is later to flower than most.

Sclerotinia: now planning mid flower/early petal fall spray. We will review the need for a second sclerotinia spray which may depend on how prolonged the flowering period is this year.

Pollen beetle: cooler weather but bright sunshine has resulted in some pollen beetle activity but on the whole in Norfolk we have not seen threshold levels away from the headlands. The beetles are attracted to the plants which are flowering. We have only treated a few backward/thin crops.

East Midlands: Majority of crops at yellow bud with some starting to flower. Expect crops to progress quickly if warm weather at week end as predicted.

Light leaf spot: levels remain very low.

Sclerotinia: sprays destined to go on at early to mid flowering - at present risk looks low with dry weather but damp nights could well cause a risk of petal stick. Dry weather will have slowed sclerotinia germination.

Pollen beetle: numbers stabilised probably due to combination of cooler days and night frosts. Risk now falling as crops start to flower.

West Midlands: Crops taking a while to flower properly - not surprising with the very cold nights and probably not a bad thing. Suspect the predicted swing of weather to the south and a warm weekend will see a lot of yellow fields by the beginning of next week.

Light leaf spot: not seeing at any significant level.

Phoma: unsprayed crops still have low levels.

Pollen beetle: still of no major concern, one client has footpath right through the middle of his crop and noticeable that there were up to 10 beetles per plant on the edge and virtually none in the middle (which is what we have always known!!). Backward crops need monitoring.

North East: Most forward crops at early flowering, but the majority at yellow bud.

Light leaf spot: despite higher temperatures still not seen any significant levels.

Sclerotinia: rotations have been quite close for some years now, and it is safe to assume that all crops in this area are at high risk of significant infection. A 2 spray programme is planned for most crops.

Pollen beetle: there have been no instances of pollen beetle at threshold levels in the forward crops, but there have been in some later sown and/or pigeon damaged crops where the threshold is much lower.

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Winter Wheat

image from FoL

Short crops as final leaf 3
emerges.
Photo Farming Online.

South East: Big diurnal temperature variations (+17 deg.C by day and -1 deg.C at night) and drying soils have again slowed crop growth in last week. Growth stages range from late GS29 to early stem extension (ie. GS 30-31), with September sown crops now mostly at GS 31. Leaf 3 now up to 1/3-2/3 emerged on September sown Solstice, Gallant and Einstein. Dry on top, wet and cold underneath - a warm rain please now to wash nitrogen in! Soil temperatures fluctuating between 6-10 deg.C.

Brown rust: none seen.

Yellow rust: first isolated foci found in Oakley where no T0 applied - no other symptoms been found anywhere.

Mildew: no active pustules visible now and continued cold nights and dry cool days together with a lack of lush soft growth to date mean that mildew risk is currently extremely low.

Septoria: very evident on all older leaves - only top 3 leaves appear free from symptoms.

Eyespot: beginning to find stem lesions in September and early October sown crops of Xi19, Cordiale and Solstice, but current conditions are not really very favourable.

Weed control: large flush of polygonous species now appearing quite widely.

South West: Growth has slowed as continuing dryness inhibits N uptake. Only crops on high mineralisable soil N fields look lush and dark green. We had a similar situation in 2007 when a dry period was followed by rain resulting in extremely rapid mid season growth. We are monitoring PGR strategies carefully, we do not want to further stress thirsty crops but we must guard against lodging in compensatory growth later. Most crops now at GS 31 with early September drillings pushing tip of leaf 3 out. Despite claims of newer varieties Claire remains the preeminent early driller with it's slow spring growth habit. Grafton which is touted as a replacement is now racing away with final leaf 3 emerged. It looks thick even when drilled at 125 seeds in early September. I hope it stands as well as claimed.

Brown rust: none seen.

Yellow rust: none seen.

Mildew: will need to be monitored closely in moisture stressed crops.

Septoria: still confined to lower leaves.

Eyespot: lesions in early drillings are rarely penetrating beyond the leaf sheath.

Weed control: spring flushes are well under way with many wild oats at 1-3 leaves in known problem areas. One germination trigger in dormant wild oats is rising soil N levels so do not stop looking too early.

Eastern Counties: Crops actively growing and majority approaching GS 31. Soils dry enough to perform most field operations. Main nitrogen application underway on forward crops at GS 31-32 with leaf 3 emerging.

Brown rust: odd pustules on susceptible varieties; Duxford, Zebedee, Cordiale.

Yellow rust: active yellow rust has been found in the more susceptible varieties including Oakley, Robigus, Viscount and Solstice.

Mildew: disease present on late drilled crops and on susceptible varieties, Solstice, Conqueror and Claire, but not active.

Septoria: apparent in most crops, in particular on early drilled and forward crops.

Weed control: wild oats now at GS 1.2-2.4 where not controlled in the autumn. Some spring wild oats germinating.

East Midlands: Most crops have leaf 4 out with some forward crops showing leaf 3 just emerging. A few forward crops of Duxford and Solstice have leaf 3 out now and will get T1 over next 7 days. Continued dry weather means topsoil very dry and fertiliser uptake is slow. Recently applied fertiliser still on surface. Soils around roots damp so no moisture problems yet but continued dry weather could become a problem. Two frosts so far this week dropping to -1 deg C at grass level on night of 20th.

Brown rust: none seen.

Yellow rust: absolutely none about - where is the epidemic that was forecast?

Mildew: levels remain very low and cold nights and drying winds are keeping it down.

Septoria: no change with plenty on older leaves - these are now sloughing off. Drying winds and cool nights appear to be keeping it in check.

Eyespot: still found on Einstein in particular but outer sheaths now drying out and whilst some penetrating risk appears to be falling. Having said that with the inoculum there wet weather (if any) may get it going again.

Weed control: deciding on any broad leaf weed follow up - at present some good control but may need tidy up if rain brings up a flush of weeds. Wild oats starting to show.

West Midlands: Crops range from GS 21-32. Early sown Humber and Grafton now with leaf 3 fully out and leaf 2 emerging. Quite a lot of wheat at GS 31 with leaf 3 half way out. T1 being applied as of 24 April. Crops beginning to look hungry with continued dry conditions.

Brown rust: none seen.

Yellow rust: none seen.

Mildew: traces on Humber.

Septoria: low levels on bottom leaves.

Eyespot: already through to main stem in early sown crops of Gallant and Humber. Visible in Alchemy, Diego and Solstice.

Weed control: brome control needed.

North East: most forward crops at GS 31-32 and later sown varieties at GS 30-31. Ground is dry now and all fields travelling well, but despite only 4mm rainfall this week crops have plenty of moisture available in soil profile.

Brown rust: none seen. T1 is planned for last week in April to early May.

Yellow rust: none seen.

Mildew: gone in the frost.

Septoria: still a big reservoir of infection on older leaves in most crops, but overall no different to most years at this time.

Eyespot: no obvious infections seen.

Weed control: grass weed herbicide only applied 10 days ago so no obvious signs of it working yet. Where applied earlier can see good control in some fields , but there are some fields where there are many plants showing no signs of herbicide activity. These mostly are well tillered plants which were going to very difficult to control, but there also small very healthy looking plants in some fields.

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Spring Beans

: at 2-4 pair leaves and bean weevil damage showing some crops will require spraying.
Winter beans growing slowly away from chocolate spot but some crops have high level of weevil damage and backward ones will be sprayed.

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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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