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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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Latest AHDB Cereal Fungicide Performance Tables

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Zypar – Flexible Weed Control For Your Spring Barley

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