Crop Crack

Drilling Spring Crops – Weed Control in Winter Crops – Forefront & Potatoes

The extremely wet conditions over winter have meant very little crop was sown and a very small percentage received an autumn herbicide. The time has now passed to control annual meadow grass in winter barley but BLWs should be controlled as soon as conditions allow. Once spring growth commences properly, contact herbicides give more reliable control, but their efficacy is critically linked to improving soil temperatures. Where grass weeds are a concern in winter wheat Hussar may be applied up to GS32, this will also give control of some broad leaved weeds but is weak on fumitory, fat hen and chickweed. A better alternative for winter wheat which has not yet been sprayed is Othello and Bio Power. Othello contains iodosulfuron and mesosulfuron. These actives are contact only and therefore need the grass to be completely emerged and growing actively, and are very effective on larger AMG. In addition they also have activity on a range of broad leaf weeds.
Leatherjacket numbers are much higher this spring than they have been for a few years. Where fields are looking poor and yellow or bare patches have appeared it is essential to inspect for leatherjackets. Damage is already becoming apparent in some established grass swards. With this evidence of high leatherjacket populations, spring cereals are also certain to be at risk especially those following a grass ley. As crops are most susceptible to damage at the seedling stage it is most important to monitor leatherjacket numbers from emergence onwards. In newly sown cereals the need for treatment is assessed by scratching along 30cm (12“) drill lengths to a depth of 5cm and searching for leatherjackets.

As soil temperatures rise, Nitrogen will quickly be needed, and a growth regulator may need applied soon after. Potash is an essential nutrient which affects both yield and quality of grain as well as other aspects of plant vigour and health. Cereal crops need at least as much, if not more, potash than any other nutrient including nitrogen. Potash is needed in such large amounts because it regulates water and nutrient movement in the plant.
The most notable disease in crops at present is Rhynchosporium in barley and low levels of septoria in wheat. Farmers often ask me what the total cost of production is for a particular crop and whilst you can give a rough guide, it is not an exact figure. There are many hidden costs which are never taken into account and I urge all growers to take the time and work out exactly what a crop costs to grow. Certainly conacre prices seem to have risen across Northern Ireland and availability of arable land is also down on last season.
Potato growers are now planning for the season ahead and there is a real need to assess the best means of weed control. I urge all potato growers to ensure when taking conacre to ask the question has aminopyralid been applied onto the land or has it been manured or slurried with product that has been treated with aminopyralid i.e. Forefront or Pharaoh.
Land intended for spring cereals should be sprayed off with glyphosate as soon as ground conditions allow. Roundup Energy is still the best value for money in the glyphosate market with all its additional benefits over generics. Roundup Energy has faster uptake and greater consistency in a wider range of weather conditions. It is important to remember when comparing glyphosate prices the amount of active it contains, Roundup energy contains 450gm/l compared to 360gm/l in most other glyphosate.


Kerb Granules on Hedgerows – Rodent Control

Welcome to the first crop crack of 2012. Growers should be making the best of this quieter time to assess the performance of last season’s crops and plan for the incoming season. There are still some crops yet to be harvested in what can only be described as a deplorable year. There has been very little drilling or spraying done to date but I have seen a few drills out this week taking a chance on some late wheat. Fields which are going to be cropped early should be identified and an up to date soil analysis carried out. Routine machinery maintenance should be carried out at this time of year to prevent unnecessary breakdowns during the busy season. All sprayers should be thoroughly checked to ensure all pipes and pumps are fully functional.


Season long control of grasses and most broad-leaved weeds is possible by applying Kerb Granules at this time.Kerb is a pre- and post-emergence residual herbicide for the control of annual and perennial grasses and a wide range of other weeds in farm and commercial forestry, ornamental plantings and recreation areas.Propyzamid the active ingredient in Kerb works by inhibiting cell division, disrupting the growth process and leading to eventual death of the plant. Kerb 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.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 can be applied in all weather conditions, application on top of snow, or to severely frozen ground should be avoided if there is any risk of surface run-off.


The cooler temperatures experienced recently have driven all vermin to take shelter wherever they could. Farm buildings should be checked and sealed to prevent access by rats and mice who will be seeking shelter. Make buildings as impenetrable as possible by sealing off possible entry points, and set traps to gauge whether any vermin have managed to already gain access to buildings.

STORM bait should be placed close to runs and holes where rats are active. If the bait is covered with boards or lengths of pipe it gives the rat a feeling of security when feeding and also protects the bait from the weather and hidden from other animals, children or livestock. Ideally use a specially designed bait box.

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