We still have enough chemical weaponry to control septoria
We are approaching a critical point in the year for all crops, whether winter sown, spring sown or the biggest crop of all in an Irish context, grass. Growth rates achieved in April and May can determine a lot of the outcome of the year.
Temperate crops respond to moderate temperatures, adequate available moisture and high levels of sunlight. Late spring/early summer is when these conditions should be at their most prevalent.
It is our role now to ensure that crops are at their most healthy to maximise the benefit from these hoped for prevailing conditions.
Most of the fertiliser should be applied at this point and any impediments or potential impediments to growth should be addressed. Weeds competing with our crops for this light, nutrients and space should also be well under control. In hotter locations, pests pose the highest risk to growth, but normally in our moist cooler climate the biggest risk to growth rate is fungal disease outbreaks.
Winter wheat in particular is a crop that suffers greatly from fungal diseases that thrive in wet cool conditions. Sometimes, like this year, 'hot weather' diseases like yellow rust rears its head in some varieties to remind us of the range of problems we face.
Nevertheless, wheat enemy number one is still septoria; and such a worthy foe deserves a lot of attention.
There has been a lot of focus given to resistance development of the disease to the available armoury of fungicides we have but a few salient points bear repeating.
Firstly, resistance has been found in fields and efficacy reduction has been noted in situations, but to date the available range of armoury we have is still sufficient to combat the disease.