The excellent weather conditions experienced over last weekend and into this week have allowed Land to dry out well and spring fieldwork is progressing well. Growth has been good this week and crops have greened up well where fertilizer has been applied. Both grass weeds and broad leaved weeds are appearing in crops which did not receive an autumn herbicide. Wheat crops are still showing low levels of disease whilst most winter barley crops have a fair bit of foliar disease on older leaves. Potato planting has begun in some parts of the province and early carrots have also been sown. Many grassland farmers were keen to spray swards for chickweed and docks but it is too soon yet as night frosts have been occurring and weeds have become hardy hence will not take in the chemical particularly well.
Much of the later drilled winter cereal crop did not receive a residual herbicide. As temperatures rise clods will be broken down on both treated and untreated crops requiring a herbicide treatment. Those wheat crops not treated in the autumn can be treated with OTHELLO and BIOPOWER up to GS32 of the crop. Applications should be made when temperatures are good and both the crop and weeds are actively growing. OTHELLO will give good control on chickweed, pansy, speedwells, charlock, groundsel and most importantly annual meadow grass. SPITFIRE is a new herbicide from Dow containing two active ingredients, a high loading of the sulfonyl-urea (SU) florasulam, and fluroxypyr. It has a very wide spectrum of weeds controlled including chickweed, cleavers, black bindweed, charlock, knotgrass, mayweeds and volunteer rape, and an equally wide window for application in all cereal crops. It can be used from 3-leaf of the crop GS13 right up to GS45 in winter wheat and winter barley; up to GS39 in spring wheat and barley; and up to GS31 in winter and spring oats, winter rye and triticale. Wild oats will continue to emerge in later drilled winter crops for another few weeks yet, so delay application until certain that all have emerged. To avoid crop damage, do not spray any crop under stress. Note that performance of some wild oat/brome herbicides can be adversely affected by other herbicides used on the crop. To avoid these antagonisms, a minimum time interval must elapse between application of the BLW herbicide application and this application. ALLY MAX and SPITFIRE should be applied onto any winter barley crops not yet sprayed but this will not control any grass present.
Manganese deficiency is now commonplace in many crops, symptoms showing as growth gathers pace. Continuous cereal ground and ground recently limed is most prone to deficiency. Symptoms begin with small pale green speckles appearing throughout the leaf and these will progress to turn brown unless treated.
Copper deficiency often accompanies Mn deficiency – its symptoms are complete browning of the leaf tip especially the youngest leaves, and apparent wilting of the plant. Treatment will be most effective if treated as soon as symptoms are seen.
In our climate maximising yield means controlling disease effectively. Getting timings right is absolutely essential; ‘fire-brigade’ control of disease is more costly and a lot less effective than well timed preventative control. Except in very low disease pressure conditions, it is a false economy to skimp on disease control and get away with it – all independent work shows that increasing fungicide doses does also increase yield.
This season sees the launch of the new BASF fungicide ADEXAR which is a mixture of xemium technology and epoxiconazole. ADEXAR is very curative and has acropetal mobility within the leaf area. It is labeled for both wheat and barley. This joins a number of newly approved cereal fungicides containing a new family of chemistry known as SDHI’s.
Preparing For Spring Crops
The focus over the last couple of weeks has been on preparing ground for spring crops. Land intended for spring cereals should be sprayed off with glyphosate 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.
The increase in temperature over the last week will encourage pests such as wireworm, slugs and leatherjackets to resume feeding and should be closely monitored. Surveys carried out recently show leatherjacket numbers are significantly higher than spring 2011.Pre ploughing treatments with Dursban or Cyren are more effective than those applied once any damage is under way in the spring-sown crop.
It is essential to soil test prior to planting any crop, whilst it may seem expensive it is money well spent.
Winter Barley & Winter Wheat Growth Regulation
There are two types of lodging; stem-base lodging and brackling. 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. Brackling is where the stem folds over part way up the plant, and occurs as a result of an inherent weakness of the variety, very dense canopies, and bursts of rapid growth.
Whilst CHLORMEQUAT (3C) will reduce the likelihood of brackling, it will have no effect on root growth; ADJUST on the other hand is active on both types of lodging when applied at the correct timing.
An application of the growth regulator often goes on with a T1 fungicide application sometime around 1st-2nd node, GS31-32. At this timing it primarily stiffens the stem by shortening the internodes, so reducing the likelihood of brackling. However when applied before the end of tillering, GS29, the growth regulator increases root growth also and so reduces stem-base lodging.
ADJUST will work right down to 1°C and is safe to the crop, particularly when applied in tank-mix with other pesticides. When applied early it also has a very significant effect on increasing tiller survival so improving yield potential. It is an excellent aid to managing more backward crops when applied at mid-tillering, GS22-24, helping these crops thicken out.