Talking Agronomy - Jo Bell - April 2021 - Agrii - Connecting Agri-science with farming

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April 19, 2021

Talking Agronomy – Jo Bell – April 2021

A drier spell has enabled us to move ahead with our top dressing. However early spraying off was disrupted by the wet and wind. Every time the ground seems to be drying out enough to think about spring drilling another spell of wet weather puts us back to Square One.

We are promised more settled conditions for the last two weeks of March. So, by the time you read this we hope to be firmly back on track. Spring beans will be our first priority, with the emphasis on sufficient drilling depth as first class pre-em weed control is vital.

Next spring wheat then faster-developing spring barleys, together with oats and peas which can happily wait until April for their seedbeds if necessary. Tailored seed treatments and seedbed fertiliser are more crucial in these situations.

Being prepared for early treatments on rapidly growing spring crops is key.  Spring barleys will get low-temperature PGR and manganese before 4 leaves The winter barleys already getting similar treatments at late tillering with zinc and fungicide targeting brown rust and rhyncho.

By the time you read this too, T0 will be upon us for the winter wheats. With most of ours drilled relatively late for black-grass management, folpet may be enough to protect them against Septoria through to T1. I will trial some Laminarin, an elicitor, in low-risk situations.

Yellow rust, though, is a different story. Unlike some, we haven’t had to resort to a pre-T0 to deal with serious infections on varieties like KWS Zyatt. However, the particular weaknesses of so many of today’s varieties, means almost all our crops will be getting a rust-active fungicide start to the season. No least as Agrii trial work over many seasons has given an average T0 yield response of 0.6t/ha in rust situations compared with 0.35t/ha where Septoria was the main disease.

Tailored by variety, and inspection, T0 will be flutriafol or bromoconazole or a combination of cyproconazole, and azoxystrobin alongside the folpet. Together with the low temperature-active PGR also in our plans, the strobilurin should help root growth and nitrogen scavenging.

Included will be key trace elements like manganese and magnesium . And some zinc to aid crops with potential BYDV. We have yet to see any symptoms, however lack of an autumn spray is a worry.

Wheat bulb fly can be found as expected after roots, although targeted seed treatment is showing its worth. Rolling crops for this and other reasons has been shelved due to the wet soil conditions.

Warmer temperatures facilitate OSR starting to move to shake off quite a bit of pigeon damage, together with noticeable frost damage sustained by more forward crops. I’m very glad to say, though, it still isn’t having to cope with large numbers of CSFB larvae.
Two spray autumn disease control – and growth regulation, where needed – means we are in no rush with our stem extension spraying. A combination of prothioconazole plus difenoconazole/paclobutrazol at green bud will maintain light leaf spot and sclerotinia control and appropriate canopy management, combined with any pollen beetle spray where necessary.

Overall, our integrated blackgrass management programme seems to be keeping infestations nicely under control. This is just as well as we no longer feel post-em cereal herbicides are worth the expense, wherever we have significant infestations, considering the necessary spend on spring fungicides. Instead, we take the decision to spray off any infested areas with glyphosate, leaving us plenty of opportunity to replace them with a spring crop.

Where blackgrass and flooding have been major issues, some tailored Stewardship options could be valuable here – especially those that allow land to be grazed or cut. In this respect, it’s well worth remembering the cut-off for engaging with your Catchment Sensitive Farming Officer for these is June 18, with applications submitted by July 30. Some grant applications need to be in by 30th April.