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Crop Crack

Barley Heads Towards Harvest!

Winter barley crops are looking really well and the gates are now closed until desiccation pre-harvest. Most winter wheat crops have received their T3 earwash with a few later drilled crops still to be sprayed.The cornerstone for the T3 head spray fungicide remains the double dose triazole mixes, despite their decline in Septoria efficacy. Tebuconazole is the most effective triazole for Fusarium in particular and an important active in its own right at this time. The addition of a strobilurin is essential to maximise the persistence of the triazole, strengthen activity on Yellow Rust, and delay early leaf senescence. Good grain fill is totally dependent on retaining green leaf area for as long as possible, and the addition of the strobilurin extends the retention of green leaf tissue. ADHB trials continue to show pyraclostrobin (COMET) to be the highest rated strob for use in wheat, being the strongest performer on Yellow rust and the late ear diseases.

Aphids in cereals

As the grains begin to fill the aphids begin to feed at its base on the ear, drawing off the sugars that should be filling the grain if left unchecked. Growers need to continue checking crops for aphids right up to early milky ripe stage (GS73) in barley, late milky ripe (GS77) in wheat, and spray if present in numbers. Where aphids are not present, unnecessary application should be avoided as any insecticide application at this time is not bee friendly. Of the aphicides approved for use for this purpose, SUMI-ALPHA is the least harmful to bees.

Pre Harvest Glyphosate

Winter barley crops are ripening well and thoughts will now turn to grain quality, moisture levels, and ease of harvesting. This year in particular grasses and other weeds are a real problem in many fields. Pre harvest application of glyphosate is an essential tool to improve the efficiency of harvesting, giving a range of benefits:

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Harvest Management

-all green tissue removed – ripens any green stems, leaves and pickles so allowing cutting to start earlier in the day & continue for longer

-no green pickles reducing overall grain moisture and drying costs

-less grain lost over straw walkers caused by green material during threshing

-faster straw clearance reduces length of weather window required

-limits sprouting in laid crops

Scutch & general weed control

-the most effective time to control scutch in tillage ground

-desiccates any other green grass & broad-leaved weeds present, facilitating lower grain moisture, faster harvesting and sooner baling of straw.

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Note however, do not use glyphosate on any crops where seed may be saved for re-sowing.

Independent trials carried out over a number of years in GB looking at the effect of using Roundup in various replicated treatments consistently show moisture contents being reduced by 2.0-2.5% at harvest compared to plots where no treatment is applied.

With a wide range of glyphosate products available, which offers the best performance in the field, and best value for money? First off, it is not the price per drum that should be compared. With different formulation types having different strengths and therefore different rates of use, it is the price per acre treated that should be compared, and what level of performance is being obtained from each. Glyphosate itself is not very soluble therefore it depends very much on the salts and wetter’s to enhance its performance. The potassium salt in Roundup Energy is taken up significantly faster than isopropylamine salt; as a result Roundup Energy is rainfast within 1 hour of application and cultivation can commence as soon as 2 days after application whereas the IPA glyphosate products need a minimum of 6 hours to be rainfast and 5 days minimum before cultivating.

Application should be made once the grain moisture gets down to 30% or below, ideally 10-14 days (and not less than 7 days) before cutting. An easy and reliable test to estimate this 30% moisture level is to press the thumbnail into a number of grains; if the indentation holds on all the grains the crop is ready for spraying.

Potatoes

As canopies close, the soil surface will tend to remain damper, encouraging slugs onto the soil surface. Timing is critical for effective control, just before the crop meets across the rows. Take advantage of any rainfall by applying pellets just afterwards, as this will bring slugs up onto the soil surface. Potato varieties particularly susceptible to slug damage include Maris Piper ,Desiree and Kerrs Pinks.

Blight fungicides move through the plant in three different ways contact, translaminar and systemic.Dithane,Ranman Top, Shirlan and Tizca are all contact fungicides. These Products protect only the outer surface of the leaf onto which they are deposited.Translaminar products such as Curzate M, Invader, Resplend and Revus move into the leaf and redistribute throughout the leaf tissue as it increases in size whilst systemic products such as Consento, Fubol Gold and Infinito move in through the leaf surface and upwards into the new growth protecting this from infection also. Products that have zoospore activity are the most effective 1st spray, applied at the rosette stage prior to rapid haulm growth. Shirlan or Tizca will control any zoospores that may be in the soil and provide good protection of the new plant. During the main canopy development phase with the considerable amount of new growth it is essential the product being used is fully systemic to properly protect the new leaves being put on between applications. Later planted crops are higher risk as they produce more new growth between applications than earlier drilled crops, at a time when the level of inoculum in the air is progressively increasing. The way the blight product is applied is as important as the product choice. Make sure nozzle type used is correct to ensure sprayer pressure; droplet size and water applied is as directed on the label. Inspect and calibrate nozzles regularly to maintain performance. Never use any blight product at reduced rates .Do not spray when the leaves are wet as this will significantly increase the likelihood of runoff.

Disease Control Crucial Now On Spring Crops

Spring Barley

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In our typically moist climate Rhyncho and Net blotch infections are breaking out along with high incidence of mildew. Even where crops are considered to be clean, controlling Rhyncho early is much more effective than leaving it until it is seen. Once this disease comes into the crop, any eradicant treatment has limited efficacy, will stress the crop and increase the risk of Ramularia infection. The T1 application should be applied at the end of tillering to the start of stem extension, GS24-31. The T2 is then applied 3-4weeks later during late flag leaf emergence to booting, GS38-49.

Product options continue to be based around core triazoles such as prothio, epoxi and cyproconazole. Prothioconazole remains the strongest performing triazole but epoxiconazole mixes are equally effective options, ensuring the various strains of disease are exposed to as many different actives throughout the programme as possible. Strobilurins continue to improve the performance of the triazole partner, improving Rhyncho, Net Blotch and Rust activity. MOBIUS is a mix of prothioconazole and strobilurin, and is one of the strongest barley products available. SDHIs will also give very good disease control at T1 but if they are only going to be used once then the T2 timing is the better fit for them as it is the most responsive timing in spring barley. Chlorothalonil is also an important component, enhancing the control of Ramularia when applied onto the flag leaf and ear.

 

All trial work continues to underline the responsiveness and therefore improvement in yield and margins of spring barley to a correctly timed 2-spray fungicide programme, consistently outperforming a single application programme. The ‘single hit’ approach attempts to provide protection for the 8-10 weeks required, an unlikely task in almost any scenario.

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Where however a low input approach is been adopted, the one application will give best response when applied during mid stem extension GS32-33, maximising Rhyncho control on the upper leaves. This is normally some weeks after the optimum timing for the herbicide application. Mid stem extension is too soon however to get reliable Ramularia control and unlikely to prevent a late infection of Rhyncho.

Spring Wheat

The young spring wheat plant isn’t subjected to the same disease burden as the overwintered winter wheat plant, therefore a two-spray programme usually suffices, with the T1 applied at 1st-2nd node, GS31-32, and the T2 applied at some point during booting, GS41-49. Whilst a large proportion of these crops are harvested as whole-crop earlier than the conventional combined crop, the feed quality of the harvested crop is very dependant on maximising grain-fill, therefore product choices and rates are similar to those of the winter crop, with significant yield responses to a proper programme.

 

Spring Oats

Powdery Mildew and Crown Rust are the most damaging diseases in this crop. CAPALO & COMET in mixture is the strongest performer in terms of controlling both these diseases and therefore yield improvement. Metrafenone (an active in CAPALO) is extremely effective in terms of Powdery Mildew control. The addition of COMET (a strobilurin) gives unrivalled Crown Rust control.

CAPALO and COMET should be applied at 1st – 2nd node, (GS31-32) eradicating any Mildew and Rust already present, and providing persistency right through to harvest.

Lodging Control

Application of SELON at early tillering on spring barley will have increased tiller and ear numbers and therefore yield potential, but will not have given any reliable strengthening of the straw. Stems that extend rapidly during the stem elongation phase (as has happened this season because of late planting, high temperatures and soil moisture at present) are more likely to be weaker and so there is a greater risk of lodging especially where the crop is being pushed on with nitrogen. SONIS can be used but its cut-off in spring barley is 2nd node, GS32. CANOPY is a very useful alternative, safe to the crop and able to be used right up to and including full flag leaf, GS39. If this timing has past, CERONE can be applied up to before awns visible, GS45.

 

Because the application of SELON at mid to end of tillering (GS23-30) does give reliable later season lodging control in wheat, it is less likely than spring barley that spring wheat will need a growth regulator towards flag leaf unless the crop is particularly dense. If the crop still looks very rank and at risk of lodging as the stem elongates, apply CERONE only, as the flag leaf is emerging. The correct timing for treating spring oats is at 2nd node, GS32.

Rain Brings Rapid Growth In All Crops

The much needed rain over the last week coupled with milder night-time temperatures has seen a welcome burst of new growth in all crops. All spring crops have now brairded and without the more usual effects of waterlogging seen in other years, are looking very well. Although weeds are also emerging fast as a result of the rain, be sure all are well through before spraying. Watch too the size of the annual meadow grass if this weed is also to be controlled – efficacy falls off rapidly once it begins to tiller.

A well timed application of SELON will encourage tiller numbers and tiller survival. This treatment must be well timed to maximise its effect, optimum timing for barley is from the 2 expanded leaf stage to beginning of tillering, GS12–21; in wheat the optimum timing is slightly later, 5 leaf to mid tillering, GS15-24. Many crops will have now passed through these growth stages. It is important to note that this season aphid numbers are the highest I have seen for a very long time and it would be advisable to apply an aphicide to control the spread of BYDV.

Temporary nutrient issues

Manganese (Mn) deficiency is widespread in much of our local soil types, and particularly damaging to leaf vigour and yield if not treated. Continuous cereal cropping, ground recently limed and dry soils all increase the likelihood of deficiency. Symptoms begin with small pale green speckles appearing throughout the leaf and these will progress to turn brown unless treated. Barley is particularly susceptible to Mn deficiency. MAXMAN is a highly concentrated Mn(40%) in a completely soluble chelated nitrate formulation and also supplies 10.8% Nitrogen and 11.4% Sulphur

A young plant that is growing extremely rapidly is producing a huge amount of new plant tissue each day. This rapid growth is limited only by the availability of nutrients to synthesise biomass, dependant on soil fertility and the plant’s own root development to take up the nutrients. It is at this time therefore when nutrient deficiencies are most likely to appear and in doing so, suppress growth rates.

The application of a broad-spectrum trace-element mix along with key macronutrients during this time is a very useful and beneficial way to supplement the plant’s nutrient requirements during periods when availability does not meet demand, most likely to coincide with phases of rapid growth ie. during tillering and as stem extension begins. Application of a balanced and readily available source of macro & micronutrients that is topping up what is being made available from the soil at this key time will minimise the adverse effects of restricting nutrient availability. CEREAL HIGH N-supplies 250gm N, 125gm S, 38gm Mg, 93gm Mn, 45gm Cu and 15gm Zn per ha

FASTMIX MAGNESIUM PLUS is an alternative product specifically formulated to meet the increased micronutrient demand of cereals and other combinable crops with good yield potential. It is a quick acting foliar fertiliser containing high levels of magnesium and sulphur as well as manganese, zinc and boron, all in a water soluble form and readily available to the plant. It is very compatible in tank-mix with most pesticides and can be applied along with the T1 and T2 fungicide applications. Being a dry formulation, it should be fully dissolved in the tank first and other products added afterwards.  MAGNESIUM PLUS supplies 625gm S, 380gm Mg, 100gm Mn, 96gm Zn and 52gm per ha.

 

Weed Control

To minimise the effects of competition on the crop and optimise the level of weed control, herbicide application should be carried out once all weeds have emerged but are still small, and before they begin to compete with the crop for nutrients and light. Carrying out the weed control when they are at the 2-4 leaf stage is much more effective especially on difficult weeds such as fumitory and knotgrass, rather than delaying to coincide with the 1st fungicide application.

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Broad leaved weeds resistant to particular groups of herbicides in NI is not a new problem – chickweed resistant to herbicides such as ALLY has been widespread throughout the province for some years. Sulfonyl urea (SU) herbicides such as metsulfuron have a single mode of activity, blocking the production in many BLW of a key enzyme, acetolactate synthase. Products that use this mode of activity are known as ALS inhibiting herbicides and include the SU chemistry. As well as chickweed, mayweed and poppy have also developed widespread ALS resistance. This particular resistance problem has been managed by including herbicides into the tank-mix with different modes of activity to maintain good weed control, for example MINSTREL and STARANE, but more recently chickweed has also begun to show resistance to this group of chemistry also.

New herbicide chemistry – Arylex/Zypar

Developed by Dow AgroSciences, arylex is a new active belonging to a new chemical family classified as synthetic auxins, similar to the old hormone chemistry. A completely different family to the ALS inhibitors, it controls a wide range of broad leaved weeds including those resistant to the ALS herbicides in most winter and spring cereals, including robust control of fumitory, fat-hen and ALS resistant chickweed. A huge benefit in our climate, arylex is also extremely robust in a wide range of weather conditions. It will be slower acting but will work equally as well irrespective of growing conditions in temperatures right down to 0ᴼC, and is rainfast within an hour. Marketed as ZYPAR, it is available in co-formulation with the active ingredient florasulam.

In NI spring cereals ZYPAR will give excellent control of a wide range of weeds that includes chickweed, fumitory, fat-hen, groundsel, brassica weeds, and cleavers. Its one relative weakness is redshank.

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Whilst it will control it to 6-leaf, it should be tank-mixed with another herbicide to ensure redshank right up to flowering is satisfactorily controlled. ALLY MAX and FOUNDATION are excellent tank-mix partners for this purpose.

 

 

 

Dry Weather Drives Field Activity

Despite a slow start this spring, the recent dry spell has allowed all fieldwork to get up to date. It has been a long time since so many farmers can boast of having the grass in for balmoral week in perfect order. Spring drilling is now complete and early drilled crops are emerged and growing well.  Lack of soil moisture may become an issue, delaying crop emergence in later drilled fields and delaying weed emergence in the earlier fields.  The dry conditions have hampered sealing of many of our vegetable and potato crops. Co Armagh is in full bloom this weekend and tight spray programmes are critical at this time as scab pressure remains high. It is also important to check for mildew and red spider mite at this time.

Winter cereal crops are moving rapidly through their growth stages. As a result of the predominantly dry April and better timed spray treatments than many other years, the wet weather diseases, Septoria and Rhyncho remain lower down the plants, well controlled by the T1 application. Dry weather diseases have been more problematic this year, with Net Blotch, mildew and Ramularia appearing in barley and Yellow Rust and Mildew in wheat.

As awns appear in barley and the flag leaf emerges in wheat, the T2 fungicide timing is fast approaching.

Properly protecting the top three leaves and ear at T2 is critical to yield and profit – foliar disease not controlled effectively at this time will hasten the senescence of these leaves during grain filling, and therefore impact adversely on yield and grain quality. This treatment will extend canopy duration therefore increasing the amount of starch produced for grain filling, and increase grain storage capacity leading to higher thousand grain weight (TGW).

Winter Barley

Correct timing of fungicide applications is critical to optimizing activity and product performance. The T2 treatment should be applied from flag leaf sheath extending, through booting to first awns visible, GS41-49. As well as protecting against Rhyncho, this treatment also needs to protect the plant against Ramularia, Brown Rust and Net Blotch through to the end of the season. Awns contribute equally to yield and it is important to keep them free of disease also.

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For crops with good yield potential, the inclusion of SHDI along with triazole and multi-site is very much the norm now, ensuring persistency of the treatment right through to ripening. Best options include AYLORA or CONCORDE mixed with MOBIUS/MANTRA/RUBRIC and the multisite chlorothalonil. Good practice would be to use a different SHDI/triazole combination now to that already used at T1. Where a crop with lower yield potential discourages their use, non SDHI chemistry using triazole/strobilurin/morpholine mixes are also robust options eg OPUS-TEAM, MANTRA or MOBIUS. As a result of its resistance to triazoles and the SDHIs increasing, chlorothalonil should now be considered an essential component of all T2 treatments helping the control of Ramularia.

Winter Wheat

In wheat the T2 should be applied during the emergence of the flag leaf, GS37-39. Of all treatments, this flag leaf timing is the most responsive to yield and therefore products used should reflect this. Against a background of Septoria being present in all crops and significantly reduced kickback activity from core chemistry, the T2 timing is critical to ensure effective protectant performance.

Managing resistance and maintaining reliable disease control now means using a range of different actives over the course of the growing season.

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It is good practise to use different actives from within the same chemical group at the different spray timings. Where possible, use a different SDHI at T2 to that used at T1, and likewise use different triazoles over the course of the season to give the widest possible activity across the different strains of fungi of all diseases.

Because it provides multiple modes of activity acting preventatively on Septoria and has no known resistant strains to the disease, chlorothalonil should also be included in all well timed T2 programmes to provide some control of those strains now showing resistance to triazoles and even SDHIs. In crops susceptible to lodging a plant growth regulator should be applied at this time.

 

 

 

 

Grassland Knapsack Treatment

Spot treatment is a very cost effective way of controlling low to medium levels of problem weeds in grassland field margins and around non-crop areas. Low levels of weeds whilst not economically important need to be controlled to prevent those setting seed and returning large numbers of seed to the surrounding fields hence producing a problem for the future.

Spot treatment is also the best way to control woody weeds such as bramble and gorse. Gorse is best sprayed late June or early July when the flowering has finished and the new vegetative growth is present. Very strong Gorse is better cut or stubbed out and then spray the regrowth the following season. Cow parsley is becoming an increasing problem weed it will grow in sunny to semi-shaded locations in fields and at the edges of hedgerows and woodland. It is a particularly common sight by the roadside. It is sufficiently common and fast-growing to be considered a nuisance weed. Cow parsley’s ability to grow rapidly through rhizomes and to produce large quantities of seeds in a single growing season has made it an invasive species in many areas of the province. GRAZON PRO will give very good control of cow parsley.

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Chickweed & Docks A Major Problem in Grassland

The last couple of weeks have offered a good opportunity for farmers to get up to date with much needed fieldwork. Grass growth has been slow due to low night time temperatures but chickweed has grown away through the winter and will need controlled especially in autumn reseeds. The presence of broad-leaved weeds will always take away from grass yield and quality. Docks and chickweed are nutrient loving weeds, thriving in nutrient rich regimes, ie more intensively managed swards.  Docks have only 65% of the feed value of grass and are unpalatable to stock.  Where infested swards are ensiled, their high nitrogen content adversely hampers a good fermentation, so leading to high pH silage that spoils quickly when opened and depresses intake. Dock seeds can also survive in silage and pass through the cow, infesting a field where slurry has been spread. The best defence against perennial broad-leaved weeds is to stop them establishing in the first place. This can be achieved by having a well-managed, dense sward, growing in well-structured non-compacted soil.  Over or under-grazed leys that have been poached, offer perfect conditions for weed seeds to germinate. Topping or mowing weed plants provides short-term visual satisfaction but stimulates active regrowth – so the problem gets worse not better. The long-term solution for controlling persistent weeds in grass is to use modern systemic herbicides. A well-timed treatment with an appropriate herbicide can transform a weedy pasture into a productive ley, without the need for costly reseeding.  Farmers may have to be more pro-active this year, as weeds have generally survived the mild winter and kind spring, so weed numbers are much higher than usual. As many of our traditional herbicides have disappeared this season we will need to choose alternatives. Pastor Pro from Dow has been replaced with a new agronomy pack PAS•TOR.  Another new product for grassland is LEYSTAR which has approval for use on new sown leys delivering a very wide spectrum of weed control. This product is not clover safe. THRUST from Nufarm is also new to us for 2017 and is very effective on docks, thistles and ragwort and again is not clover safe. So whilst we have lost some of our grassland products we have also now in our possession some very effective new armoury.

DOCKS

As thoughts turn to silage, treating dock-ridden leys with DOXSTAR PRO four weeks before cutting will significantly increase the amount of grass that ends up in the clamp and improve silage quality. Docks have much less feed value than grass and pull down dry matter.  FOREFRONT T is the most effective herbicide available to grassland farmers for the control of docks, ragwort, chickweed, thistles, dandelions, nettles and buttercups.  It is the longest lasting weed control product in grassland to date with a single well timed spray giving up to 18 months control so whilst it may appear expensive it really is good value for money.

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Once the established docks have been controlled it is best to keep the problem under control with follow-up treatments every year. This controls new growth of seedling docks that will reappear because all that is required for dormant seeds to germinate is a gap in the sward caused by poaching or tractor marks.

In fertile soils, the dock root system consists of a large tap root with a highly branched mass of smaller fibrous roots. This means what appears to be a small dock plant above ground may in fact be growing from a large rooting system below ground. In order to achieve effective herbicide application docks should be at the rosette stage, with foliage8-10 inches high or across. If grass has been cut or grazed a period of three weeks must occur to allow sufficient regrowth and a suitable target for spraying. If applying FOREFRONT T, DOXSTAR PRO or PAS•TOR,  livestock should be kept out of treated areas for 7 days before grazing and until the foliage of any poisonous weeds has died and become unpalatable.  Where clover is important SQUIRE may be applied in establishes grass.

CHICKWEED

There are 2 types of chickweed, common chickweed which is the most commonly found type, with a smooth leaf and mouse-eared chickweed which has a larger leaf than common, with a very hairy surface on the leaf & stem. Chickweed levels have built up very quickly this spring as this weed grows at lower temperatures than grass, and should be treated as soon as possible to avoid choking out the young grass.

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Similarly, established swards that have been poached by autumn grazing tend to be very open in the early spring and this allows chickweed a chance to become a problem.

Chickweed can mature and produce seed in 5-6 weeks hence there can be several generations in a year. Mouse-eared chickweed is very common on many local farms and it is important to note the distinct differences and treatments.  LEYSTAR will be used widely on new sown leys this season where clover is not important. As well as controlling both strains of chickweed it will give very good control of dock and thistle.

PAS.TOR applied at 1lt/ha of PAS and 1lt/ha of TOR, and DOXSTAR applied at 1lt/ha, will control both types of chickweed in established swards. Neither will check the growth of immature grass plants but are not clover safe. Where clover is part of the mixture then a clover safe product must be used. TRIAD is an SU type herbicide that is safe to clover when used correctly. As well as controlling a wide range of BLW’s TRIAD gives excellent control on chickweed. It will also control seedling docks (not those regrowing from roots), but has no effect on thistles or buttercup. Add SPRUCE to bring in control of these weeds also.

It is extremely difficult to achieve satisfactory control once weeds get beyond the seedling (young plant) stage. Clover content of the sward needs to be higher than is often appreciated. As a rule of thumb there should be 10 plants per square metre at the start of the season. Where plant populations are below this level it is more important to focus on other aspects and be prepared to treat the field as a grass only crop. High levels of nitrogen will significantly reduce clover growth, but by reducing nitrogen inputs overall forage yield will be reduced.

To ensure a well fermented silage sufficient fertiliser must be applied at the correct time for intended cutting dates. On average allow one day’s growth for each 2-3 units of nitrogen between application and cutting. The younger the grasses the higher the feed value but the lower its yield. In general aim to cut before 50% of the ears have emerged to gain as much yield as possible. Short chopping speeds up fermentation and aids consolidation ensuring not to cut too short as long fibre is required for rumen function. Where conditions allow fast wilting in good weather will increase the concentration of sugars and reduce effluent production.

WINTER BARLEY

The increases in temperatures over the last couple of weeks have made a marked impression on winter crops as they start to grow. Yellowing and patchy areas are becoming evident across fields as a result of localised variations in soil conditions varying the availability of N, P and K to the crop; wetter spots and compaction on headlands in particular are now showing up. Depending on when and if a T0 treatment was applied, diseases are prevalent in all fields, with mildew levels higher than those seen in recent years. All have completed tillering, with the most forward approaching 1st node GS31. A considerable area of winter barley crops received this treatment during the latter half of March this year and disease levels now being seen reflect this, with higher levels of both Rhyncho and Mildew present higher up the plant in those not treated.

Winter Wheat

Growth stages are more varied depending on drilling date, varying from mid tillering, GS23 to the most forward at 1st node GS31. Most are looking well with less yellowing than the winter barley. Some received a T0 and infection is markedly lower in the youngest leaves of these crops, but Septoria is present and moving upwards in all fields with varying levelsl of Mildew. There have also been reports of yellow rust in some winter wheat varieties, especially Reflection.

Correct Nutrient Deficiencies At The Start of The Season

The pleasant weather over the last week has got most of us thinking about fertiliser and spray applications.  Crops have begun looking for nitrogen and as daylight hours are longer it is essential to apply fertiliser onto crops to maintain healthy foliage.  Who knows what the next few weeks have in store for us so it has been my advice to get on as soon as possible with fertiliser.  The amounts of P&K at the target index 2 must be maintained and it is important to take into consideration the offtake in yield of grain when planning fertiliser applications. As most of our straw is removed an NPK fertiliser should be applied in accordance with the RB209 taking into consideration the use of organic manures. Cereals are becoming more responsive to sulphur as atmospheric deposition of sulphur declines.

NutrelWhere deficiency has been recognised or is expected 25-50kgSO3/ha as a sulphate should be applied in early spring before the start of stem extension.   Fastmix Magnesium Plus contains the following available nutrients- magnesium, sulphur, zinc and manganese.  This product is rapidly absorbed by the plant quickly correcting deficiencies.  Fastmix has been specially developed to meet the micronutrient demand of cereals and other leafy crops with a high manganese demand in an ideal combination with magnesium and sulphur.  It is a cost efficient nutrient application technique for Mg, S, Mn and Zn without additional costs, if combined with the regular crop protection program.It also helps activate nitrogen into the plant to enhance seed development and transference of sugars throughout the plant, Sulphur is one of 17 elements essential for crop growth. Although sulphur is considered a secondary nutrient it is often referred to as the fourth major nutrient ranking just below NPK.   Sulphur deficiency can often be mistaken as nitrogen deficiency.  The pale yellow symptoms of sulphur  often appear on the younger or uppermost leaves whilst nitrogen def initially appears on the older leaves. Crops lacking sulphur appear stunted, spindly and thin stemmed and maturity in cereal grains is delayed.

When deficient, Mg is transferred in the plant from older to new tissue. As a result, deficiency symptoms occur first in older leaves. Tissue between the veins becomes light green to whitish in colour. In cereals this leads to striping between veins that may be intermittent rather than continuous. With severe deficiencies, purple colouration may follow.

I have observed quite a lot of mildew especially on winter barley crops across the province over the last couple of weeks. Infinity seems to be the weakest variety against this disease but I am also seeing it on other varieties. I am advising a T0 fungicide treatment as rhynchosporium levels are also quite high.It is also important to observe the winter wheat varieties when considering a T0 bearing in mind the low resistance the variety Leeds has to mildew. Whilst this has proved to be an excellent yielding variety it is critical to be aware of this when planning fungicide programmes.

Weed control decisions for winter cereal crops will depend on what has already been done in the autumn and what weeds have overwintered since that treatment. Where no treatment has yet gone onto wheat, Othello is the product of choice, controlling AMG and certain broad leaved weeds (BLW) in this crop in the spring. However this product is not safe to use on barley, and with the loss of chlortoluron (CTU), there is no spring alternative to control emerged AMG in this crop. None of the autumn products control AMG beyond the mid tillering stage, and in all winter barley crops the AMG will be well beyond this stage now. With the loss of Lexus Class there is nothing to control emerged grass in winter oats.

Unlike the autumn actives, the actives in Othello that specifically control AMG (iodosulfuron and mesosulfuron) are not residual and have no pre-emergent activity, and therefore will only control AMG that has already emerged. In addition they require the weeds to be growing actively, so delay use until all grasses have emerged and temperatures have risen to allow growth to have resumed.

The third active in Othello, diflufenican has residual activity as well as contact and therefore will control a wide range of pre or early post emerged broad leaved weeds. However where these weeds are well established beyond the seedling size, then a contact product needs to be added to ensure larger overwintered BLW are controlled effectively. The cheapest option is Duplosan, improving control of chickweed, fumitory and cleavers, but this product is temperature sensitive, therefore needs a milder spell to work properly.

In past years both IPU and CTU controlled groundsel very effectively in the autumn. However none of the current autumn replacements control this weed, and therefore it is now a common overwintered problem requiring control in the spring. Other overwintering/late germinating weeds can include chickweed and cleavers. Spitfire is a more effective option controlling these and a wider range of other emerged BLW, and is the best tank-mix option with Othello in wheat or for use alone in barley and oats. As it is also a contact post emergent only herbicide, it works also best when the weeds are growing actively.

Brome grass and wild oats

Satisfactory brome grass control can only be achieved using a combination of cultural and chemical control methods over the course of the growing season; no single herbicide treatment is effective by itself. Cultural control methods are based around stale seedbed routines pre-drilling, switching to spring cereals, or the use of a break crop for a season.

Chemical control should have begun in the autumn with Crystal applied at the higher 4lt/ha rate, following up now in the spring with Broadway Star, but note this product can only be used on wheat. There is no spring follow-up product safe for barley; therefore some re-infestation of brome is likely in this crop in the spring.

To maximise the efficacy of Broadway Star, it is important to pay attention to a number of points;

-the smaller the brome, the better the control; ideally not after 3 tillers, GS23

-apply when soil temps at 10 cm are >8ºC and air temp >7ºC for 4 days before and after application

-apply to crops that are actively growing and not under stress

-always use an adjuvant along with the BROADWAY STAR

Because BROADWAY STAR works by contact activity only, any brome or wild oats that germinate after the application will not be controlled. The addition of a residual therefore such as pendimethalin brings control of brome and wild oats germinating after the BROADWAY STAR application.

Growth regulation – managing tiller numbers

When applied before 1st node, GS31, application of certain chlormequat growth regulators can significantly increase tiller numbers. Chlormequat works by suppressing apical dominance, ie main stem development. In doing so it diverts the plant’s resources into producing and supporting more tillers. Particularly in wheat but in barley also, more tillers will go a long way towards compensating for low plant counts, ultimately increasing yield.

Optimising timing is important to maximise this effect. The earlier it is applied during tillering the greater the tiller effect, but note early application to increase tiller numbers will also reduce its effect on lodging. Application of a chlormequat based growth regulator often goes on with a T1 fungicide application sometime around 1st-2nd node, GS31-32. At this timing it is too late to affect tiller numbers and survival but will maximise the stem stiffening effect.

Early application will also increase root growth and so reduce stem-base lodging.   Stem-base lodging is where the plant folds over at the soil surface as a result of poor anchorage in the soil, and is caused by poor root ball development, more likely when the seedling develops in wet soils that limit root development.  Only chlormequat works by suppressing apical dominance, but the active itself does not work effectively at temperatures below 8°C.  SELON is a formulation of chlormequat in combination with a particular adjuvant mix which enhances the uptake of the chlormequat in low temperature conditions and therefore improve the reliability of performance, consistently working right down to 1°C. The adjuvant mix also works as a crop safener, particularly when applied in tank-mixes with other pesticides.  SELON is very flexible in terms of crop timings and tank mixes.

Roundup

Kerb Granules Give Season Long Weed Control

Welcome to the first crop crack of 2017. It is still possible to achieve excellent weed control for some weeks yet, in hedgerows, commercial forestry, ornamental plantings and recreation areas using Kerb Granules.

Season long control of grasses and most broad-leaved weeds is possible by applying Kerb Granules at this time of year. Kerb is a pre- and post-emergence residual herbicide for the control of annual and perennial grasses and a wide range of other weeds. Propyzamid the active ingredient in Kerb works by inhibiting cell division, disrupting the growth process and leading to eventual death of the weed.

Barclay-KerbKerb Granules can be applied to all soil types, therefore allowing its use in many areas where weed control is needed. Kerb is the ideal herbicide for forestry and woodland (including farm forestry), ornamental shrubberies and rose beds, hedges, fence lines and gravel pathways. Where shrub beds are mulched Kerb Granules must be applied immediately prior to mulching if weeds are to be prevented from growing through the mulch. Kerb requires soil moisture for root uptake to take place. Kerb Granules are mobile in the soil profile and therefore the best results will be achieved when applying in cooler conditions, usually between October and February. If warm, dry conditions prevail after application then weed control may be reduced. Although Kerb Granules can be applied in all weather conditions, application to severely frozen ground should be avoided if there is any risk of surface run-off. Kerb Granules are non- irritant, non-sensitising and has no known bio-accumulation which gives you the confidence to use this product in areas open to the general public. For further information contact your local agrochemical merchant.

Arylex – Weed Control Just Got Easier!

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Last Chance For Grassland Weed Control in 2016

There have been several blight warnings recently and it is important not to stretch spray intervals at this critical time. Combines have been busy in many areas over recent weeks but this week it has been a bit stop start. I would urge all farmers to assess both land intended for reseeding and winter cereals to monitor for slugs as numbers are greater than they have been for some years. Treated seed is a priority if slugs are present. I would like to impress on you the need to carry out soil samples at this time to ensure all nutrients will be readily available to the growing crop.

Grassland Weed Control

Ragwort is appearing in many grass situations at present and is becoming a greater problem especially in lower fertility situations; it is an ‘injurious weed’ and is not permitted to grow unchecked. Ragwort is a biennial plant i.e. it grows from seed the first season to produce a rosette plant and then the following season it will produce a flowering stem, produce seed then die. Ragwort contains alkaloids which are poisonous to all livestock. Each plant can produce up to 150,000 seed with a 70% germination rate and seeds can remain dormant in the soil for up to 20 years. Treatment of plants, which are at the rosette stage now, can be very effective and an autumn application allows a check on the efficacy of the treatment to be made in early spring before allocating fields for silage or hay. Autumn is a good time to spray as the grass growth slows down and grass utilization and withdrawal periods are not as critical as they can be in the spring time when stock are turned out. Whilst ragwort is unpalatable when it is green it becomes extremely palatable once sprayed. It is important to remove as much of the root as possible; ragwort can regenerate like docks from its root fragments. A single application of weed killer is unlikely to completely eliminate a ragwort infestation due to overlapping generations of the weed. A follow up treatment should be made in the spring.

Docks are a particular problem in intensively managed grassland, especially where seeds are spread through slurry applications or poaching has occurred. Docks look unsightly, but more importantly, can reduce the grass yield and productivity. Early autumn is often overlooked as a potential time to achieve effective dock control. At this time the dock plant will revert back to vegetative growth. During vegetative growth the plant food being produced in the leaf is moved into the root for storage. Translocated herbicides are moved through the plant along with the food, hence if they are applied at this stage more product will end up in the root giving better root control.Pastor

Where clover is not considered important products such as Doxstar, Pastor and Forefront should be used. If clovers are an important component of the sward Squire Ultra should be used .Remember in most circumstances treatment is most effective where a second application takes place within a 12 month period.

Potatoes

Growers should continue to maintain fungicide protection of the haulm until the crop is harvested or the haulm is 100% desiccated. Timely desiccation is an essential part of good seed and ware production. Diquat is the most widely used farmer applied chemical desiccant .The rate of haulm desiccation is slow and therefore fungicide protection should continue after application. Even after two split applications of Reglone certain varieties of potatoes are difficult to burn off completely and be certain no regrowth will appear. Spotlight Plus is a desiccant recommended for use after a 7 day interval as a follow up T2 treatment to the T1 application of Reglone and gives complete kill of any stems remaining and stolons below the ground but it is poor on leaves.

Good Time to Control Grassland Weeds

There have been several blight warnings recently and it is important not to stretch spray intervals at this critical time.

Combines have been busy in many areas over recent weeks but this week it has been a bit stop start. I would urge all farmers to assess both land intended for reseeding and winter cereals to monitor for slugs as numbers are greater than they have been for some years. Treated seed is a priority if slugs are present.

I would like to impress on you the need to carry out soil samples at this time to ensure all nutrients will be readily available to the growing crop.

Grassland Weed Control

Ragwort is appearing in many grass situations and is becoming a greater problem especially in lower fertility situations; it is an ‘injurious weed’ and is not permitted to grow unchecked. Ragwort is a biennial plant i.e. it grows from seed the first season to produce a rosette plant and then the following season it will produce a flowering stem, produce seed then die.  Ragwort contains alkaloids which are poisonous to all livestock. Each plant can produce up to 150,000 seed with a 70% germination rate and seeds can remain dormant in the soil for up to 20 years. Treatment of plants, which are at the rosette stage now, can be very effective and an autumn application allows a check on the efficacy of the treatment to be made in early spring before allocating fields for silage or hay. Autumn is a good time to spray as the grass growth slows down and grass utilization and withdrawal periods are not as critical as they can be in the spring time when stock are turned out. Whilst ragwort is unpalatable when it is green it becomes extremely palatable once sprayed. It is important to remove as much of the root as possible; ragwort can regenerate like docks from its root fragments. A single application of weed killer is unlikely to completely eliminate a ragwort infestation due to overlapping generations of the weed. A follow up treatment should be made in the spring.

Docks are a particular problem in intensively managed grassland, especially where seeds are spread through slurry applications or poaching has occurred. Docks look unsightly, but more importantly, can reduce the grass yield and productivity. Early autumn is often overlooked as a potential time to achieve effective dock control. At this time the dock plant will revert back to vegetative growth. During vegetative growth the plant food being produced in the leaf is moved into the root for storage. Translocated herbicides are moved through the plant along with the food, hence if they are applied at this stage more product will end up in the root giving better root control.

Where clover is not considered important sprays based on the chemicals fluroxypyr, triclopyr or dicamba mixtures should be used. If clovers are an important component of the sward Squire may be used .Remember in most circumstances treatment is most effective where a second application takes place within a 12 month period.

Potatoes

Growers should continue to maintain fungicide protection of the haulm until the crop is harvested or the haulm is 100% desiccated. Timely desiccation is an essential part of good seed and ware production. Diquat is the most widely used farmer applied chemical desiccant .The rate of haulm desiccation is slow and therefore fungicide protection should continue after application. Even after two split applications of Reglone certain varieties of potatoes are difficult to burn off completely and be certain no regrowth will appear. Spotlight Plus is a desiccant recommended for use after a 7 day interval as a follow up T2 treatment to the T1 application of Reglone and gives complete kill of any stems remaining and stolons below the ground but it is poor on leaves.

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