Helen Harris: Volatile weather means proper growth has yet to take off
The weather is always a challenge in farming and at this time of the year, it can be very unpredictable.
It was unseasonably mild for February and as we have seen again this spring, you can get four seasons in a day during March and April.
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We were watching carefully to see when the proper growth would take off, with the rise in temperatures and also watching for frosty nights.
We need what's termed 'active growth' for most sprays to work, but especially the growth regulators. Usually this happens when the day temperature goes over 12C.
The winter barley is looking well and has received a fungicide of Zephyr at .75l per ha and a wild oats spray of Axial Pro at .6l per ha. Once we were sure there was no risk of frost, it got .15l per ha of growth regulator Freeze and 1l per ha of Bravo to help control ramularia.
The last of the fertiliser will go out in the next few days. It doesn't look like its under any pressure and as long as we stay on top of disease control, it should be fine.
It is not looking as well as the barley, as patches of yellow rust are very visible, especially along one hedge that has high trees. It had received Broadway Star at 265g per acre for wild oats, brome and cleavers, with CeCeCe and Bravo at 1l per ha for growth regulation and fungicide. We also added a sticker to help with contact and absorption on the plant leaf.
The two varieties that are suffering the most with rust problems seem to be the Bennington and JB Diego. A week after the first spray, they received Jenton at 1l per ha and 1l per ha of Bravo.