Farm Ireland

Saturday 17 March 2018

Crop growth up to 10 days behind

Despite much-improved growth over the last 10-14 days, crop growth stages remain up to 10 days behind normal. Disease levels generally remain low in the majority of crops.

Most winter wheat crops are now at or past flag leaf, with all early-sown crops fully headed out. The main T2 spray has been applied in most cases. Crops remained clean after a robust rate of triazole plus a SDHI.

This should see them stay clean until their final (T3) spray in the next two-to-three weeks.

If nitrogen (N) is still to be applied, do so immediately. Rates should be adjusted and based on historic crop yields.

This has been a particularly difficult growing season and there have been many incidences of nutrient deficiencies.

Many have been a result of weather conditions and crops have benefited from the application of trace elements.

This season showed up a lot of potassium (K) deficiency too, and the application of additional K has shown excellent results.

Magnesium deficiency was also particularly noticeable. The regular use of Epsom salts improved crops dramatically and was relatively inexpensive.

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Trace element applications are best applied around growth stage 32 to get maximum effect.

Winter wheat crops are generally shorter than normal. If crops have not yet headed and if lodging is still considered a risk, the PGR options include Canopy, Cerone, Modus and Terpal.

Warm, sunny weather creates a different problem with regards to spraying, especially if crops are under pressure.

Spraying should only be conducted early in the morning or late in the evening.

Winter barley is the one crop that has looked well all year and this continues to be the case with crops still very clean.

The final spray has generally been applied over the last week.

If not, include an SDHI plus chlorothalonil.

A product such as Amistar Opti is also an economic option.

Most winter oat crops are past the flag-leaf stage, with many heading out.

Again, these crops are generally free of disease, with small incidences of mildew.

The final spray should include a broad-spectrum cocktail, with the inclusion of a mildewicide essential.

Winter oil seed rape crops are in flower much later this season.

Many poor crops have shown good improvement over the last two weeks. All nitrogen should be applied at this stage. Apply a fungicide at petal fall. Options include 0.5kg Filan, 1L Amistar, 0.5L Proline or 1L Prosaro per hectare.

All fodder beet crops have received their T1 herbicide and most are now due their T2. This should include a combination of products such as Wizard or Betanal Max Pro, plus metamitron and vegetable oil. For wild oat or scutch control, use Falcon, Aramo, Fusilade or Stratus Ultra. Aramo is particularly good on grass weeds.

Most spring cereals are at growth stages 32 to 37. Many spring crops, especially barley, were affected by herbicide scorch.

The recent good weather has helped to combat this. Fertiliser applications should be completed at this stage.

Spring barley crops are very clean but should receive their T1 this week if it has not already been applied. This should include a robust rate of triazole plus Bravo and Morpholine or one of the new SDHI products.

Many crops will benefit from the application of trace elements by now.

Some advanced strong crops have made great progress and may benefit from the application of a low rate of Moddus if there is concern about lodging.

Wild oats in spring crops should also be treated now. Numerous products are available such as Axial and Avena. Beware of the interval if you have used an SU product recently.

Spring oat crops are generally at growth stage 32 and should now receive T2 fungicide, including a broad spectrum such as Tocato or Capelo.

Spring oilseed rape has developed dramatically over the last seven-to-10 days. Nitrogen should be brought to 150-180kg per hectare. Generally, later-sown crops received no broadleaved weed control, however, many will benefit from grass-weed/wild-oat control. Use a graminicide such as Aramo, Falcon, Fusilade Max or Stratos Ultra.

Any crop of maize not treated with a pre-emergence herbicide should be treated post-emergence with a product such as Calaris from the four-to-six-leaf stage at up to 1.5l/ha.

Consider the addition of Fluroxypyr or a follow-up with Accent, Clorpyralid or similar for difficult weeds such as thistles, scutch, wild oats or volunteer potatoes.

Pat Minnock is a Carlow-based agricultural consultant and a member of the ACA and the ITCA. He can be contacted at

Irish Independent