The few kinder days and the welcome splash of rain will help tillage crops around the country.

Growth continues, but a warmer spell would be beneficial now, especially for spring crops.

Crops remain generally clean, thanks to the prolonged fine spell, but diseases such as septoria, rhyncho and rusts can always proliferate at short notice.

Ramularia on barley remains a real concern, given that it is intensified by crop stress, which was present in abundance in recent weeks from the combination of cold, frost and then lots of visible chemical stress where growth regulator and fungicide were applied.

Greater concern this year

Ramularia is already of greater concern this year following the loss of chlorothalonil and its ongoing ability to develop resistance to virtually all chemical families.

This year, the weight of control will rest on the shoulders of Folpet, which must be regarded as an essential active in all final sprays on barley. But it does have limited ability from single applications.

It may still be helped by actives such as Revysol and prothioconazole, but they should not be relied upon for this task.

Useful characteristics

Indeed, standing back, I will watch with interest how Revysol performs over time on ramularia.

Its very many useful characteristics, stated to help it be highly robust in the fight against septoria resistance, would likely first be tested against ramularia.

If it can 'resist' that fungus over the next two to four years, that would help to verify its claims of being much more robust than previous actives against septoria too.

We will hope for a yes on all fronts.