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Report: 30 April 2010 (for week beginning 26 April 2010)

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

Rain: at last and more forecast for the weekend has raised the spectre of Sclerotinia. Many winter rape crops now flowering.

Crops: remain short, thin and open after prolonged cold dry spring.

Winter wheat: crops remain short and tiller numbers are down but final leaf three has emerged in many
early crops and many T1 fungicides have already been applied. Disease levels in winter wheat remain low.

Winter barley: has flag leaf emerging.

Winter Oilseed Rape

image from FoL

Early petal fall in Castille
and sticking in the rain.
Photo Farming Online.

Sclerotinia: Threat Increases With Rain.

HGCA funded research found fungicide performance only differed at high disease levels. All fungicides for Sclerotinia are only protectant. A single spray at early to mid-flowering gave good protection for about three weeks.
Click here to read results.
In spring, soil temperatures of over 10 deg.C encourage sclerotia near the surface in moist soil to germinate.

South East: Mostly at early flowering - ES Alienor close to mid-flower in some areas and is still the most advanced variety. Despite dry weather, crops generally looking quite useful, though could really do with a decent rain to wash in final doses of nitrogen properly.

Light leaf spot: only very low levels in evidence.

Sclerotinia: despite lack of rain, night time air and soil temperatures are now high enough for apothecial development (7 deg.C+). Sclerotia will now germinate freely and if we do get rain this weekend then infection pressure could be intense and potentially sustained until the end of flowering, leading to a very high risk year due to later flowering generally. Current forecast is for wetter weather to arrive at end of next week ie. at around early to mid-flowering.

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.

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: Most advanced in full flower but least advanced only just coming into flower. Big differences between sites and varieties. DK Cabernet late to flower. Frosts have damaged some flower buds which have turned brown and fallen off (often the top cluster of buds). Several crops look spindly, they have raced through the growth stages and seem to have less leaf than in some years. Especially applicable to less fertile sites.

Sclerotinia: planning fungicide application at v early petalfall aimed at sclerotinia. Will follow up with a different active ingredient 3 weeks later on high risk sites.

Pollen beetle: numbers escalated last week and at very late green bud / early yellow bud stage we treated a few crops which were late to flower. These were treated last weekend in view of the high temps. All other crops were coming well into flower and past the stage of risk.

East Midlands: Forward crops flowering with later crops still at yellow bud to first flowers (in some cases in the same field due to delayed germination in autumn and pigeon damage). Many crops look well in spite of lateness.

Light leaf spot: levels remain very low.

Sclerotinia: forecast of wet weather will raise risk of sclerotinia. Crops starting to flower are treated, but problem decision will have to be made between T1 in wheat or sclerotinia in rape and some risk assessment will have to be done. Priority will be cover on high risk rape crops.

West Midlands: Some crops now at 50% flower/ - first pods (primarily Castile with Vision close behind), with petal fall starting as well. Will start applying sclerotinia sprays end of this week/beginning of next week once have reached 17-21 days since canopy management spray/ state of crop re petal fall.

Light leaf spot: not seeing at any significant level.

Phoma: unsprayed crops still have low levels.

North East: Early varieties Castille and Excalibur in full flower. Other varieties a few days behind.

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

Sclerotinia: Despite the recent low rainfall the soil is moist and warming up. It only has to be 10 deg. C for sclerotia development. Heavy dews are also enough to allow petal sticking. A 2 spray programme is planned for most crops with the first timed for 7 days time.

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
Photo Farming Online.

South East: Despite warmer nights, drying soils and slow N uptake continue to slow crop growth in the last week - if we do get rain this weekend we will see an explosion of growth as surface roots are now appearing. Growth stages range from late GS 30 to GS 32, with September sown crops now mostly at GS 31-32. Leaf 3 now fully emerged on main shoots of September sown Solstice, Gallant and Einstein, with tip of leaf 2 1/3 emerged in more precocious crops - T1 fungicides now being applied to most September and early October sown crops when leaf 3 is fully emerged on main shoots. With such delayed growth this year, very low soil N levels and poor rooting, nitrogen availability will be key to protecting yield potential.

Brown rust: none seen.

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

Mildew: still no active pustules found.

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 - 32 with early September drillings with 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 range from GS 30 to GS 32 with final leaf 3 emerging. Soils dry enough to perform most field operations.

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

Yellow rust: no active disease seen.

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: Many crops now have leaf 3 showing and only November drilled crops after maize have leaf 4 with 3 tip. In spite of crops catching up in terms of growth stage they are not catching up in terms of height with some crops at leaf 3 emergence looking like leaf 4 crops. Dry weather is acting as growth regulator and in some cases growth regulator is being eased back.

Brown rust: none seen.

Yellow rust: none seen.

Mildew: none seen at all.

Septoria: dry weather is holding it back with little or none on leaf 4 and only low amounts on leaf 5.

Eyespot: can still be found but levels dropping and only on older leaf sheaths with little penetrating. However wet weather now may well increase risk on susceptible varieties and no risk is taken on quality wheat.

Weed control: 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: Majority of T1 applications now on, applying magnesium sulphate with T1 on light land. Late sown wheat T1 will be applied next week.

Yellow rust: none seen.

Mildew: traces on Humber and JB Diego.

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.

North East: Internodes still short but most crops now at GS 31, and a few at GS 32. Decisions on late N for protein will be made mid-May.

Brown rust: none seen.

Yellow rust: no infection seen. The T0 application has controlled it well so far.

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: all herbicide applications for blackgrass completed at least 2 weeks ago now. In most fields control looks ok, but there are some instances now where there have been dense patches and the control looks poor.

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Winter Barley

South East: Growth stages now range from GS32-37.

South West: Final leaf 2 emerging on the earliest drillings.

Eastern Counties: Crops in good condition and actively growing and range from GS 2.2-30 with majority at GS 30.

East Midlands: Crops have caught up with flag leaf now appearing. Main concern is that no crops are above knee height, dry weather has hit many crops with some signs of stress, especially on lighter soils.

West Midlands: Flag leaf emerging /out on Carat, Cassia leaf 2 out, also flag leaf out on light land stressed crops, some are looking pretty ropy and thin due to tiller loss.

North East: Some forward Retriever at GS 37, but for most crops will be a few days until flag leaf emerging.

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Spring Beans

: at 2-6 pair leaves and bean weevil damage showing.

Winter beans:
growing away from chocolate spot but some crops have high level of weevil damage and backward ones will be sprayed. Flower buds visible in some crops.

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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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