Farmers are generally getting on top of crop management as dry weather prevails.

This weather is helping to slow down disease in crops and will also help to target plants with products at the right time. However, some late-sown crops are suffering and the drier conditions are making weed control in beet more difficult.

Agronomists across the country kindly contributed to a survey for the Irish Farmers Journal at the end of last week to keep you up to date on crop growth stages and disease levels.

Winter wheat

Winter wheat ranges from GS39-49 across the country. In general, agronomists are reporting that the recent drier weather has helped to slow down disease pressure.

While septoria is still evident on crops in the north east one agronomist reported the clear difference in disease levels between early and late-sown crops, while in Tipperary three clean leaves were reported.

One agronomist in Cork commented that robust programmes have been working to keep septoria levels down in the crop.

Winter crops were reported to look well across the country at the end of May.

After a tough winter and delayed fertiliser and plant protection product applications, crops look to have improved in many cases.

Spring barley

Spring barley was still being planted and only emerging in some fields in the northeast last week, while the highest growth stage reported across the country was GS39 – flag leaf.

Most reported low levels of disease in crops, but there were high incidences in some cases and net blotch was most commonly reported, with rhynchosporium in some crops.

Early-sown crops look to be doing well across the country, while the later sown crops are struggling in some places in dry conditions.

Nitrogen fertiliser was applied to some crops which was not washed in.

Spring oats

Spring oats ranged from GS25 to GS37 across the country last week. Low to moderate levels of disease were reported. In most cases this was mildew, but crown rust was reported in the northeast.

Spring beans

Most bean crops were reported to be at the start of flowering last week.

Chocolate spot pressure was relatively high and downy mildew was reported, in many cases.

Spring wheat

Spring wheat was reported to be at GS24 to GS37 across the country. Disease levels were low to moderate.

Mildew was commonly reported, while septoria and yellow rust were also present.

BYDV and pests

Barley yellow dwarf virus (BYDV) was reported to be at low to moderate levels in crops.

However, agronomists are seeing a lot of infected crops at those levels. In spring barley, it looks to be appearing on individual leaves and is not a cause for concern for most. Leather jackets are causing problems for many, particularly in ley fields.


Herbicide applications are only starting in some parts of the country on beet. Weeds are under control in most early-sown crops.

However, the dry weather is going to make it a far tougher job on later-sown crops.