Taking the best care of your crops from soil moisture to disease management
Published 10/05/2011 | 05:00
The past week has really demonstrated the impact soil type and structure has on crops. In the midlands and north-east, crops are showing various stress symptoms, all relating to the available soil moisture and nutrient uptake.
The winter crops on heavier soils, following break crops or organic manure applications are a good deep green colour.
By contrast cereals on sharper loam soils or poorly structured soils are lighter and variable in colour. The differences are mainly due to root mass and base fertility. I mentioned earlier in the season the importance of root development and this factor has really come into play now.
Disease levels in crops are generally low, and the bulk of the T1 fungicide applications have been carried out. The winter oilseed rape crops vary from full flower to 50pc petal drop. Normally at this time you will see petals stuck to leaves, providing a substrate for fungal growth and requiring immediate fungicide application.
The dry leaves and windy conditions have blown the leaves to the ground so the immediate threat is reduced.
It is good practice to apply a robust triazole fungicide now, despite the lack of disease to ensure the canopy remains clean.
Despite the excellent dry weather, spraying has been difficult, with high temperatures, strong sunlight and wind reducing the opportunity to spray.