With the recent spell of favourable weather, winter cereal crops are responding positively to fertiliser application. Winter barley and oats are approaching growth 31/32 and wheat is at or around growth stage 31. These growth stages are triggers for some key applications which are either happening or imminent.

Wild oats

Wild oats in winter wheat or barley that have not already been treated should get priority. According to Billy Cotter: “Wild oats are better controlled at earlier growth stages. It is important to get herbicides, like Axial Pro, on to the tillers before crop shading becomes an issue. Avoid spraying when the wild oats are not growing actively, keep to recommended rates and follow sequencing guidelines around broadleaf herbicides to get best results.

“We did an interesting piece of work in winter barley last year where we clearly demonstrated that earlier removal of wild oats leads to a significant increase in the number of ears per square metre of the crop. It is too late to take this advice for winter cereals this year, but it is a good indicator for any spring cereals to be treated,” said Billy

Wild oats are better controlled at early growth stages and should take priority.


Brown rust and mildew are the most commonly reported diseases in barley crops at the moment, advises Billy. Neither are the most difficult diseases to control but it does underline the importance of using truly broad spectrum fungicides at this early timing.

“Elatus Era is a great option for the first fungicide on barley as it contains prothioconazole and the SDHI, SOLATENOL™. This combination of active ingredients delivers a high level of control of the traditional diseases like rhynchosporium and net blotch, and will also deal with brown rust and the levels of mildew being seen in crops at present,” said Billy.

Wild oats are better controlled at early growth stages and should take priority.


Predictably, septoria is the most visible disease in wheat crops, though the recent spell of dry weather is helping to confine it to the lower leaves. Yellow rust is not featuring as much as last year, but it is a disease that can suddenly appear and quickly establish if not factored into fungicide programmes.

According to Billy: “T1 is a key timing for controlling both septoria and yellow rust. Elatus Era’s profile on wheat – strong on septoria and the best available on yellow rust - will fit the bill on many crops this year. Always add the multisite Folpet at T1 to provide additional activity against septoria and to slow the rate of resistance development.”

Spray Assist App improves spray application

Last year, Syngenta launched a new app to help growers improve their spray application.

The Spray Assist App combines local weather data with a grower’s spraying equipment to suggest the best sprayer setup and spray window to optimise performance and to minimise drift.

Tom Gartland who leads this for Syngenta said: “Setting up an account is very straightforward and once operational, growers can enter their sprayer model, boom width and available nozzles. The app allows you to input your preferred water volume, the crop being sprayed and the relevant growth stage. It will then combine this information with predicted weather forecast over the following five days to indicate the best time to spray. It will also suggest the most appropriate nozzle and pressure to use.

“The growers who used the app last year found it very useful. Using the app to optimise nozzle selection, spray pressure and forward speed gets the best value from the technology. Some growers just used it for its accurate local weather forecast and to identify upcoming spray windows – and that’s fine too,” explains Tom.

The Spray Assist App is free to download now from the App Store or Google Play. Registered users will receive free updates as they are developed and released.

For further information, please click HERE.