When it comes to managingcereal crops emerging from this winter, Amie Horner, agronomist withHutchinsons, advocates the need for attention to detail and warns that nosingle approach will fit all situations.
Cropsthat I am walking in the east of Cornwall and over the border into Devon havecoped with the wet winter in varying degrees largely determined by when theywere drilled but also on how exposed the fields are. With such variationgrowers must work closely with their agronomist to determine the best approach down to each field level, she says.
Itmay be worth considering rolling some of the more backward crops where groundconditions allow. Doing so will help consolidate the ground around seedlingsand reduce the risk of root lodging an approach that can also encouragetillering in struggling wheat and that will be helpful at harvest in that itwill improve field conditions where there are rough seedbeds or large numbersof stones.
Inthis delayed spring there may be a temptation to rush in and catch up on the workthat has until now not been possible. However, its important to remember thatcrops are under stress as roots have been in very wet soils followed by largediurnal temperature variations. Crops will develop quickly and be verysoft and lush and susceptible to damage.
MsHorner recommends addressing the crops nutrient needs first with the firstapplication of nitrogen being a priority especially on winter barley and 2ndwheat crops.
MissHorner recognises that disease levels are fairly high in most crops but itsimportant not to rush in to spray with big tank mixes with herbicides inparticular she says.
Thetimings of T0 and T1 applications need to take in to account the actual growthstages of the crop and not necessarily the dates when sprays have been appliedin the past. Barley responds very well to a T0 application and is a strategythat Ms Horner recommends as well on forward wheat crops.
Cropinspections also show that there is disease in the stem base of many crops.”Septoria pressure is high in many wheat crops and yellow rust has alsobeen observed. Rhynchosporium and net blotch are evident in barley and crownrust appearing in winter oats already.
Chlorothalonilin combination with a triazole and or a strobilurin applied three to four weeksbefore the T1 spray at GS31/32 can provide effective disease protection priorto emergence of the all -important 3rd leaf.
Growthregulation will need careful consideration as well this spring as again thevariation in crops means no one solution fits all.
Dosesshould be chosen appropriate to the disease susceptibility of individualvarieties. It might be tempting to reduce the input costs on crops such aswinter oats but Ms Horner warns that crown rust can be difficult to control ifit becomes established.
Withthe amount of forward crops that are at risk close attention to detail andcareful planning with your agronomist will be vital in coaching crops out ofthe winter.