March 31, 2017
Iain Richards Blog: A question of workloads
Well, so much for spring cropping easing workloads. It may have made the autumn less stressful. But with a lot more spring barley to go in this season, some surprisingly wet ground, much of the oilseed rape taking off like a rocket over the past two weeks and urgently needing more nitrogen as well as its stem extension spray, things certainly aren’t any more relaxed for us at the moment.
Being faster developers, the vast majority of our rape crops are moving into green bud, with some distinct yellowing to their main racemes. For the first time in three years many are needing serious steadying.
Early Toprex is balancing-up our most forward pieces really well. But those only just being sprayed are getting robust rates of metconazole. With healthy 20-30 plants/m2 populations from our low hybrid sowing rates and remarkably little light leaf spot, this should really encourage them to branch out and fill the space available.
With such rapid crop development, we’re looking to the stem extension spraying to even-up flowering too. Otherwise, we could be in for a serious sclerotinia challenge. However, it’s an ill-wind (quite literally) here. Going in at yellow bud, as rapid growth and the unsettled weather looks like forcing us to do in many cases, should give a useful start to controlling this threat with combinations of metconazole and boscalid, in particular.
With this we’re including a good dose of foliar magnesium and boron to address the clear magnesium deficiencies showing-up with such rapid spring growth and generally low levels of boron revealed in our tissue testing. And we’re keeping a close eye on pollen beetle numbers which are building-up, although not at threshold levels yet.
Other than Toprex, one thing that has had a very noticeable early PGR effect this season – alarmingly so, in fact – has been bifenox. Crops haven’t waxed-up nearly as well as usual in the on-off winter. So, despite timely spraying, the main racemes of some less waxy varieties have really suffered.
Although our wheats are also moving along nicely, they still have a good week to go until Leaf 4 emerges. This and no yellow rust to speak of is hugely welcome in avoiding the need – or temptation – to go in early with any T0s.
Thank heavens, as we’ve plenty enough on our plates just now with the OSR spraying and spring barley drilling without having any extra workload worry.
Having said that, we’re certainly not panicking with the barley drilling yet. Ground that had its primary cultivation before Christmas has already drilled-up nicely in the past week. And we’re giving any wet-lying stubbles not pulled-up early enough plenty of time to dry out to make sure we get the seedbed quality we need. Not least because we know the quality of our seedbeds is far more important than the sowing date and we’ve been getting very good yields from heavy land crops drilled well into April.