Care needed as BPS application deadline looms

'Winter rape is in full flower'
'Winter rape is in full flower'

PJ Phelan

Tomorrow is the deadline for BPS applications, and May 31 the deadline for amending BPS applications without a penalty. BPS applications made after May 15 will incur a 1pc penalty per working day up to June 9, after which no payment will be made.

Arable farmers should inspect their applications carefully during that period to confirm that everything has been submitted correctly. Pay particular attention to crop types as it is very easy to tick the wrong crop type.

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That will have serious implications on payments if such a mistake made the difference between meeting the two- or three-crop rule. Where eligible grassland is used to meet that rule, check to ensure that the field selected had an arable crop in 2014 or one of the years since then. Beans, peas and lupins are eligible for payment under the Protein Aid Scheme so, if sown, check to ensure that the correct fields have been selected.

Hedgerows on parcels where the area is declared for EFA purposes - i.e. nitrogen fixing crops, catch crops, short rotation coppice and BPS eligible forestry - cannot be used as EFA landscape features in the same year.

The minimum EFA requirement may be met with the use of field margins where there is a 2m uncultivated strip on the perimeter of an arable crop.

Crops are doing very well so far this year. However, moisture stress will be an issue unless we get rain soon. Many drains, which are normally wet into mid-summer are dry.

Heavy clay soils are already showing cracking, as the clay shrinks. If that progresses much further, heavy rainfall is likely to drain away quickly. Winds have been harsh over the past 10 days and nights cool which may be one reason why disease progression appears to be very slow.

Winter barley is generally at growth stage 39 (full flag leaf) - 49 (first awns) visable - the ideal stage for the final spray. In all cases Chlorothalonil should be included with at least half rate triazole, half rate SDHI and possibly a strob.

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In most cases prothioconazole, sold under a large number of trade names and the active ingredient in Proline, will be the principal triazole.

Products new to the market this year - Decoy, Jade, Pecari, Prizm Protendo and Ultraline - all contain prothioconazole. Products containing epoxiconazole (originally Opus) and combined with both a strob and SDHI in Ceriax have similar efficacies and may provide a useful resistance strategy where prothioconazole has already been used. Bontima/Cebara provides a totally different chemistry, providing a greater anti-resistance strategy. There is no justification at this stage for the use of an insecticide.

Flag leaf (gs 37) is emerging, probably 7-10 earlier than normal in wheat. Yellow rust has been a problem in Bennington and JB Diego. Treatment should consist of a strob/morpholine mix.

The T2 is due at g.s. 39 (full flag leaf). A triazole SDHI mix should be used. Where the triazole was epoxiconazole/prothioconazole at T1, use metconazole/tebuconazole at T2. Chlorothanonil should be added.

Winter rape is in full flower for close to six weeks and appears disease free. Apply Amistar, Filan, Proline or Prosaro at the start of petal fall to prevent Sclerotinia. The greatest risk lies with wet weather at petal fall, when petals sit on the axil of the plant stem. A second application after three weeks may be justified in fields where there is a tight rotation of rape or peas/beans/potatoes in the rotation.

Establishment of spring cereals has been very good this year with virtually every seed producing a plant. There is some evidence of seedling blight caused by fusarium. Teagasc advises the use of an aphicide at the 2-5 leaf stage to prevent BYDV. Later applications are less effective and may in fact do more harm than good.

The widespread resistance by aphids to pyrethriods is largely due to overuse and in situations where aphids survive one application there is no sense in a repeat application.

Beneficial aphid preditors will be destroyed and there is nothing to stop further transmission of virus by aphids. Currently spraying of spring cereals should consist of a herbicide possibly an aphicide and something to prevent mildew, possibly Talius.

Indo Farming