It is no wonder that weather discussions dominate farming conversations. The wind and rain of the past two weeks have played havoc with efforts to get spraying done.
Spring barley crops have struggled over the last number of weeks with the drought followed by a scorch brought on by the application of herbicides. In addition the delayed herbicide application has resulted in poorer weed control. A clean-up may be required in some cases and products such as Starane and Galaxy might be considered.
Much of the fertiliser has also only just recently kicked in. Crops that received a boost of liquid phosphorus or plant stimulant look to have recovered quicker.
Crops that had Hussar applied appear to have achieved some level of wild oat control. However, monitor crops closely as secondary tillers from the wild oat can emerge late.
Many spring barley crops have significant mildew present. The addition of a half rate of a mildewicide with the herbicide has paid off this year. The application of the T1 fungicide is now urgent if not already applied. Include either epoxiconazole or prothioconazole with a half-rate strobilurin and a mildewicide. Good value combinations of these active ingredients are available so shop around. A high rate of fungicide can be applied for less than €14 per acre.
Trace element deficiency is a major problem on most crops and the addition of a suitable trace element with your T1 fungicide is recommended.
In winter wheat, the head is emerging or fully emerged and all these crops should have by now received their T2 spray. The disease control appears to be fairly good in most crops inspected with the top three leaves clean. The fourth leaf has about 10-30pc septoria and low levels of mildew. The earlier addition of Talius or Flexity on heavy crops was certainly worthwhile.
Last week I noticed a number of crops of Triticale had very high levels of yellow rust present. This can be a devastating disease that spreads rapidly. Use a robust rate of a morpholine plus tebuconazole with a half rate strobilurin for persistency.
Winter barley crops are extremely clean and many are fairly heavy. The scarcity of suitable growth regulators has meant that some of these crops have received less growth regulation than normal and they have the potential to be challenging with the continuing heavy winds and rain.
Some of the retained winter oat crops have made a good improvement and, even if they are still quite gappy, have a lush green cover and are disease free. The careful manipulation of these crops with growth regulator and fertiliser and foliar feed appears to have paid off.
It will be interesting to compare the financial return from these crops after harvest, to those ones which were resown. Up to this week I was regretting persevering with some of these crops which had plant stands as low as 100 plants per square meter. However these crops now appear to be improving.
Spring oats and spring wheat have really moved on over the last few weeks and a strong T1 of epoxiconazole or prothioconazole with an added morpholine should be included. It is essential that both these crops receive a growth regulator to ensure they stay upright.
Fodder beet crops appear to be progressing well. The application of 0.8 litres of Venzar after sowing or pre-emergence appears to have worked well. Most crops will receive their T2 herbicide this week (wind permitting) which should consist of Betanal Expert or Wizard plus the residual Goltix and oil.
Wild oats and scutch should be treated in advance of the T2 application. Use higher water volumes. Beet leaf miner (Mangold fly) was active but controlled well with dimethoate.
Spring rape has really started to move and is clean but should receive an application of boron and trace elements. Nitrogen should be brought up to about 140-150 units per acre. Fungicides can be delayed for another few weeks.
Peas in the midlands are doing well and only require some wild oat control. Add in some trace elements particularly manganese.
Maize crops which have not been treated for weeds are now due their herbicide. Some crops appear to be struggling to get through the plastic.
Pat Minnock is the Carlow-based president of the ACA and a member of the ITCA. www.minnockagri.ie