Harvest desiccated crops very soon
While harvesting has begun in the south, combines across the country have been on a rain check for the past 10 days. Harvest reports to-date have been mixed, with good-quality grain but with no record-breaking yields.
There are also variable reports about other aspects important in the success of the winter barley crop, such as low moisture grain and high straw yields. Many winter barley crops have been desiccated, and it is important to harvest these crops as soon as possible.
After harvest, however, the desiccated straw will be in a much better position to be baled behind the combine than naturally senesced crops.
Cereal crops are heading for the stage where pre-harvest glyphosate can be considered. The main reason for the use of pre-harvest glyphosate is to control perennial weeds, particularly scutch, but other weeds are also usefully controlled at a pre-harvest stage.
Pre-harvest application has many advantages over post- harvest applications. The main benefits are more green leaf on the weeds, and higher temperatures and growth rates at that time of year to increase uptake and efficacy of the product.
But there are also disadvantages, such as tramping of crop at headlands, which reduces yield, and the strict time constraints for subsequent crop establishment to remain compliant with the Nitrates Directive.
Where applications of an autumn desiccant have been applied, the subsequent crop must be sown to emerge within six weeks of application. For example, desiccating a crop this week, the subsequent crop must be sown to provide for its emergence by September 1, or else shallow cultivation must be practised on this land in the interim.