Trace element deficiency identified due to the extremely cold conditions
Soil temperatures are now 1-2C above normal for this time of the year, although the forecast for the week is not good. However, the lift in temperatures brought some welcome greening of winter cereal crops.
Good growth in April should help crops to progress during the growing season. Winter barley crops are behind normal in terms of development, generally at mid- to end-tillering stage (GS22-29) and advisers and farmers are seeing more trace element deficiencies than usual, probably due to the very cold weather over winter and early spring.
The three most important trace elements are copper, zinc and manganese, so it is worth checking those first and taking actions, ideally around mid-tillering stage.
Winter wheat crops have recovered somewhat in the last week but are still backward. Crops are varying from early growth stage 21 to late growth stage 29 but most crops are at GS24. With the rise in soil temperatures, winter wheat crops will respond to nitrogen now and the first split should be completed if it hasn't already.
This will be a big help to crops with low plant counts and low tiller numbers, and will improve the structure of the crop.
Crops with less than 150 plants or less than 800 tillers /sqm should get 50-75kg of nitrogen now with the main N split at GS30-31. Nitrogen is the most yield-responsive input in cereal production and it remains essential to apply optimum rates, taking into account crop yield potential.
Visitors to Oak Park over the years will have seen the control plots in various trials where no N is applied and the contrast in crops is clear.
To fullfil that crop potential, crops need sufficient P and K to meet crop requirements, based on a recent soil test analysis.