However, as this is the most important application time (flag leaf) I would be slow to compromise and in most cases I would suggest using one of the SDHIs with chlorothalonil and a mildewicide, like Talius, for mildew prone varieties.
If crops look heavy and you are worried about lodging, this is the last opportunity to apply a growth regulator.
Cerone, or its equivalent, can be applied with the T2 before growth stage (GS) 47 at 0.6-0.75 litres/ha.
Winter oats also appear to be very clean except for some crops that have mildew present. I note some septoria-type damage on some crops (see attached photo) but consider this to be a bacterial infection, Pseudo-monas Syringae.
There is no chemical control for it but kresoxim-methyl containing products appear to have some beneficial effect.
Growth regulation appears to have worked very well. Most crops have heads emerging and now require their final fungicide. Again, a combination product of value should be considered but the use of a tebuconazole product (Folicur or Riza) will help grain colour.
Most crops of winter oilseed rape are at, or past, 95pc petal fall and should also be treated with their final fungicide. This can be a combination of products such as Amistar and Proline. Karate or Lambda should be included for seed weevil control, if required.
Growth has been rapid in spring barley crops and while later than average sowing occurred, crops are catching up.
Weed control is now vital if not already carried out. There is a range of quality products available and in good growing conditions, full rates of many herbicides can be reduced.
While some IPU products can now be used on spring barley I prefer the sulfonylurea product, Huzzar, for crops which have a tendency for annual meadow grass. However, this product can be hard on the crop.
If you use a hard water source, a softener should be added. The partner product for any sulfonylurea herbicide will depend on the likely weed spectrum that may be encountered.
It can include HBN (Stellox or Oxytril) for polygonums, or Galaxy for resistant weeds, like marigold and chickweed, and it is also very good on cleavers. These products will also help control weeds that have not been dealt with due to a failure to use suitable products in the past.
Fodder beet was also sown late but has made fantastic growth in the last two weeks.
The use of residual pre-emerge sprays at sowing time has worked extremely well.
Most crops are now ready for their T2, which should consist of a phenmedipham product such as Betanal or Wizard with metamitron (Goltix, Target, Glofo) added with a vegetable oil.
A graminicide, (Falcon, Fusilade Stratus, Aramo) must be used for wild oats or volunteer cereal control later.
Bean crops also look good this year and weed control is very satisfactory. However, graminicides may be required.
The main disease problem with this crop is chocolate spot and this will require a two-spray programme.
The first application should be at the first sign of infection, normally around the start of flowering. This can be Signum at 0.5kg or 0.5l of Amistar plus Folicur at 0.75l/ha.
Pat Minnock is a Carlow-based agricultural consultant and a member of the ACA and the ITCA. www.minnockagri.ie