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Cropwatch South | March 2022

Blog - 10.03.22

All our second and later-drilled wheats have had their first nitrogen but we’ve been in no rush to get it onto earlier-sown crops. With so much potential in them, most nitrogen bought at reasonable prices and N Mins not exceptionally high, we aren’t cutting N rates in most cases; not least as wheat values are so firm and protein is likely to be worth a lot to millers if spring nitrogen economies are too extensive.

Acutely aware there is unlikely to be any cheap fertiliser next season and those supplies may be restricted, however, we are taking the breathing space of this one to try a number of approaches to improving nitrogen use efficiency showing particular promise in Agrii trials.  These include using LiquiSafe with liquid UAN, Origin Enhanced Nitrogen in place of solid AN, and polysulphate to better balance N with fresh available potash and magnesium as well as sulphur.

In doing this we are particularly conscious that, as well as being very dry, last April gave us more than 15 consecutive frosts, making sufficient available nutrition in the ground early enough crucial.

Any repeat of this may calm down disease cycling, but in our experience, it won’t lead to the sort of leaf loss we see from decent winter frosts. So, the substantial reservoir of Septoria we have in the base of most crops is driving our disease management thinking.

As is the experience of those who really struggled to control yellow rust wherever it got away last season.

Among the limited T0 options we have these days for varieties like KWS Zyatt that need the most support, we will be sticking with the bromuconazole/tebuconazole co-formulation with or without folpet we have found especially effective.

At the other end of the variety spectrum, we were very impressed with our results from the elicitor, Iodus (laminarin) on KWS Extase last season. So, we will be making use of this and a number of other promising biologicals at T0 on our more robust wheats.

Alongside the low temperature-active chlormequat we have long used at T0, our more forward wheats will be getting a low rate of trinexepac here as well as at T1 for greater consistency in a season in which crops receiving early N are already moving strongly.

While we were looking forward to some useful nitrogen savings with our OSR at the turn of the year, horrendously large flocks of pigeons have changed everything.

With many GAIs of over 2.0 coming into January down to less than 1.0 by last month, all our crops have had a first dose of 70kg/ha.

The mild winter and pre-em limitations of companion cropping have also meant we’ve had to work harder-than-ever on our broadleaved weeds control this spring.

On the bright side, though, our generally later-sown crops have fewer CSFB larvae than earlier sowings and the sort of rooting and collar widths that should enable them to bounce back well as they move into stem extension. They are also nice and clean.

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