Monday, September 16, 2019

Cereal crops enter home straight ahead of harvest

June 4, 2019 by  
Filed under Crops

A good soak of rain would still help crops reach their potential, says Richard Overthrow.

Generalising about rainfall can make folk angry – but rain in most parts of the region last month went some way to maintaining crop potential. As always though, lighter soils are still a little dry and yield potential could remain under threat because soils are drier anyway after 2018.

However variable the rain has been, most areas have had sufficient to take up all applied nitrogen. Ideally, any late soil-applied nitrogen for grain protein in wheat should be on by now, and from now on foliar nitrogen sprayed on to ears after flowering is the best means of achieving this.

Winter wheat

In winter wheat crops, flag leaf emergence varied with drilling date but in most cases happened when expected. At least the dry weather prevented any early disease epidemics so fungicide programmes should be in control.

Ear or T3 sprays will be going on now, the optimum timing for these is full ear emergence to early flowering, and this may occur less than two weeks after the flag leaf spray. Varieties such as Crusoe and Siskin can suffer late brown rust so these T3 sprays will have a dual role in these crops.

These treatments are important for groups 1-3 but feed wheats also may benefit particularly if a wet summer ensues.

Later developing wheat crops may still be at risk from blossom midge, so this should be monitored until flowering starts. If warm dry weather prevails then aphids may move onto cereal ears so look out for these also.

Barley crops

Winter barley crops have been put to bed now and we can only wait to see what their yield potential actually was.

Most spring barley crops were sown earlier this year and will be due a second fungicide at flag leaf-awns emergence, however for any crops sown later than this there may only be time for one fungicide on these, given the low disease pressure and rapid development typical of later sowings.

The second fungicide in winter oats (around panicle emergence) will also be due soon and should be rust-orientated. Spring oat crops usually require just one fungicide, around GS32.

Oilseed rape

Nitrogen programmes for the poorer (flea beetle-ravaged) winter oilseed rape crops were also difficult to judge and there may be crops which have recovered and so are considered to have had insufficient nitrogen to date.

It is in these situations that post-flowering foliar N, applied to the pods, can give a benefit as an efficient late delivery system. It is likely to be past the optimum timing on normal crops but a lot are well behind in development and may still be able to be treated.

Some failed winter rape crops were replaced with spring rape and these should be checked regularly for pollen beetle from stem extension onwards: these pests can invade spring rape crops before the green bud stage and are far more damaging than in winter crops.

Beans and peas

Winter beans are likely to have had one fungicide but bean rust can develop in dry weather and chocolate spot in the wet so check for these and treat appropriately as a T2 treatment. Spring beans often need only one spray but this should cover both diseases if further treatment isn’t planned.

Pea crops should be checked for pests, pea aphid and thrips in particular can invade at this time of year. Crops should also receive a fungicide at the late flowering pod set stage, though treating before any lodging occurs is the important timing consideration.

Richard Overthrow is a regional agronomist with NIAB TAG, the UK’s largest independent agronomy organisation with several research centres in the Midlands. For more details, call 01223 342495.

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