To spend or not to spend on 2012 spray programme?
The weather this spring is playing havoc with our spraying programme. It is also affecting the uptake of the fertiliser.
We had the fertiliser out during the dry spell in April, and very quickly afterwards you could see yellow stripes coming into the crops because the fertiliser was sitting on the ground rather than being taken up by the plants. Then the rain came and the wheat and barley looked far healthier and were a deep green colour.
It's the cold that we have to worry about now, as the temperatures are much lower than normal for May. Last year, the mean air temperature in May was 11.4C. This year, so far it is 7.6C. The mean soil temperature for May 2011 was 12.6C, and this year it is 9.8C.
For our T1, our Cassia winter barley had growth regulator Moddus applied at 0.2l/ha. Our second spray programme was Siltra at 0.6l/ha, Balear at 0.6l/ha and Terpal at 0.4l/ha.
Normally the crop would need this, as the warm weather would produce a luscious soft growth. This year, however, that warm weather has yet to come and now the barley is looking green but very short. Hopefully hot days will arrive soon and the crop will recover.
Fresh lesions of rhyncho had already started to appear before the end of our three-week programme. That is why we used a slightly higher rate of Siltra.
We have a very expensive T1 programme this year as we were concerned about the high septoria level and had left it late to spray.
The third last leaf was fully unfolded. We left part of a tram line unsprayed to see the difference between that and the treated crop.