Tillage sums don't add up this year
Most winter crops look very well for this time of the year however the potential for problems exists. Crops are advanced but beginning to show signs of hunger.
At the first opportunity these crops will need fertiliser but this should not be at the expense of creating major wheel tracks/rutting which will remain for the rest of the season. I would not be overly concerned with yellowing in winter barley crops this early as the crop continues to lay down grain sites while dormant. A little fertiliser will no doubt help the crop to remain greener and will allow more tillers to survive.
However, the development of a greater number of grain sites will help maintain yield potential. After a very mild and wet winter, disease levels in crops is relatively high. This is particularly evident in winter barley and oil seed rape.
There is no cause for concern just yet however should weather conditions improve and growing conditions change action may be needed sooner rather than later.
Some barley crops are up to growth stage 30 while wheat crops are from 20 to 25. Winter oats is at stem extension, growth stage 30, and will be ready for growth regulation as soon as weather conditions improve and allow.
To reduce costs this spring you must consider the use of Urea, spreading widths may be a problem depending on your tramlines. CAN works out at approximately €1 per kg of N, while this works out at 70 cent in Urea. Therefore, for winter barley receiving 180 kgs of N switching to urea can save €52 per hectare over CAN.
No spring work was evident until last week when a few cold dry days allowed some field work to start. It is likely to be some time yet before significant levels of spring work, particularly sowing, gets under way. Some winter crops that have not received a herbicide could be treated immediately.
Winter barley with grass weeds present should be sprayed with IPU and DFF as there are no chemical options for grass control later.