Maturity slowed

Progress towards harvest seems to have been slowed by the cooler conditions of recent weeks. Rainfall amounts have so far been variable for June but generally low, with only a few areas getting above 25mm and many on much less.

While some northern regions got rain over the past week, much of the south is having a dry year to date by their local norms. This is leaving some fields of winter barley appearing as if they are burning in.

The slower recent growth conditions also stalled the pace of development in other crops, with T2s still to go on to spring cereals.

Meanwhile the dryness in places could see crows attack later winter barley or very forward spring barley crops in the days ahead, unless there is sufficient rainfall later in the week to dampen grassland.

I see some evidence of poor nitrogen spreading, which means really bad value for money from expensive nitrogen. There is also a bit of lodging in places.

Final sprays

Final fungicides need to be applied. This is still likely on the last of the winter wheat as well as later spring barley and spring wheat and oats. While crops are generally very clean, do not take this for granted.

Ramularia is visible in many barley crops, so spring barley needs to be protected.

A Prosaro or equivalent product should be used on late winter wheat. On late spring barley, the final fungicide might be prothioconazole plus a strobilurin or SDHI, plus folpet for ramularia.

On spring oats the final spray at heading out might be Elatus Era, with Tern added if there is active mildew or crown rust.

Oilseed Rape

Crops are showing signs of ripening so keep an eye on desiccation stage. Crops will differ considerably because of variety and sowing date, so proper assessment is needed for desiccation.

High temperatures speed up maturation but crop differences will still apply.

Begin pod assessments when the overall colour across the top of the crop is gone from green to light brown – often referred to as the colour of a hare’s back.

Once you have this, consider glyphosate application when at least two-thirds of the seeds are turning from green to brown in the middle of the main stem.

Allow two to three weeks for the crop to die back post desiccation. While any form of glyphosate can be used, Roundup Powermax may be more consistent on rape.

The rate of active needs to be up at 1,000 g/ha, or even more if there are perennial weeds to be killed.

The rate per hectare depends on the glyphosate concentration used. Use 200 l/ha or more of water to help get glyphosate well down into the canopy but avoid big droplets.

Spring rape is generally in or coming into flower, so keep an eye out for pollen beetles on the flower buds. Subsequent larvae can reduce the number of viable pods and impact on yield. If an insecticide is necessary, spray very early in the morning (before 6am) to help avoid periods of bee activity.