Spring barley yields are promising but we are heading for a late harvest
Spirits have lifted a little, following the disappointment with winter barley yields, with winter wheat crops ranging from 4-5t/ac. Early indications are that spring barley crops are promising but we are heading for a late harvest with many crops unlikely to be fit for harvesting for at least another week or 10 days.
Pre-harvest glyphosate application will be necessary in later barley crops which have a high percentage of late green tillers or where weed levels are high. Pre-harvest application rates range from 2l/ha to 4l/ha depending on weed types/populations to be controlled - read labels carefully. Application must not take place until grain moisture is under 30pc and you must leave at least seven days before harvest.
Pre-harvest application is not permitted on seed crops. For satisfactory control of wheat volunteers and many broadleaved weeds an interval of 14 days is needed. That is tricky given that straw breakdown risk increases.
Blind grains are evident in most spring barleys due to a combination of fusarium infection or sterile grain sites. Both of these problems arose from wet weather at flowering.
Over 90pc of barley pollination takes place before ear emergence with pollination of the remainder taking place during flowering. Rain during that period restricts pollen movement.
While the harvest is still far from completed decisions must be made on cropping for the coming year. There is little doubt that price prospects for the coming year are poor so grain growers must look at reducing costs.
Questions have been asked over the past few years on the economics of growing wheat with the big fear that our fungicides will fail to control septoria. The value of break crops cannot be underestimated. Oilseed rape yields were disappointing this year but the crop is the only break crop option for most people.
While we are all concerned about the removal of pesticides from the approved list, it is great to see new products coming to the market.