All signs are good as spraying season ends
The final round of crop visits are under way as the spraying season draws to a close. Fungicide performance has been good despite the challenging spraying conditions. Winter oilseed rape crops look promising, with heavy canopies and good pod distribution evident on many crops.
It is remarkable how crops recovered from the ravaging the pigeons inflicted in the spring time. Sclerotinia stem rot is evident on some crops, with prematurely ripened plants notable in the crop standing out as the most obvious issue. The stem, when split, will reveal the hard black sclerotinia in the stem cavity, which fall to the ground or are combined with the seed.
I have noted some pod midge larval damage, with pods white and shredded, a result of an earlier visit from the brassica pod midge.
Winter barley will be ready for the combine in the next couple of weeks. The crops are generally disease free with a lot of green area on the flag leaves and awns still visible. Six-row crops look particularly promising on the heavier soils and lodging problems are minimal.
Crows are active on field margins and need to be controlled.
Winter wheat crops are in grain-filling mode, with the final T3 applications mainly completed. While the general consensus is that disease levels were low this season, if unsprayed areas around poles, for example, are examined the real levels of disease pressure can be assessed. The T3 fungicide should include a strong triazole with septoria and fusarium control and a strobilurin to enhance grain colour, prolong the green tissue, control head moulds and maintain straw quality.
Spring barley crops are variable, late sown crops are going through the growth stage motions but remain thin and short with poor to moderate yield potential. Rhynchosporium remains the most obvious disease with small patches of infection scattered in some crops. Mildew levels are minimal mainly on the stems and lower leaves.
Occasional yellow flag leaves point towards a mild form of Barley Yellow Dwarf Virus, but I have not seen bad infections on any crop, particularly following ploughed grass.