A week of progress

It was a dry week but without great drying for a lot of the time. But most land did dry eventually and a lot of barley planting is now being done following the burst of activity that saw virtually all spring wheat and beans planted. Many areas got substantial showers again this week but the hope is that they will not slow progress massively, as there is still a lot of planting to be done and the forecast is bad. Early planting is the best form of resistance to most subsequent negative weather events.

Winter crops: Crops show signs of growth and look the better for it as they fill out across the rows. Earlier-sown crops are now into stem extension and vary from the developing ear coming above ground to full blown first node. Crops sown in fertile situations appear lush and soft in places but these will likely harden up and even up in time.

Yellow rust has been a significant problem in many winter wheat crops over the past few weeks and many are now sprayed. Watch Bennington, Torp and JB Diego in particular but this disease could suddenly appear on any variety so they all need to be watched. And if yellow rust is about, watch for crown rust on oats also.


Winter oilseed rape is extending, with an occasional flower present. This is close to the time to apply the balance of the nitrogen of between 60kg and 90kg N/ha, depending on what was applied previously and watching the 225kg N/ha maximum rate allowed. Apply before the crop gets too tall as damage can occur during application.

With winter cereals moving into stem extension, the main split of nitrogen will be required as soon as temperatures increase and growth speeds up. Take winter barley up to a total of 180kg to 200kg N/ha, depending on proven yield potential. Bring wheat on Index 1 sites up to 160kg to 180kg N/ha or 140kg to 160kg N/ha on Index 2 sites, with the intention of topping up again at flag leaf. Finish oats now at 130kg to 150kg N/ha, depending on provable yield potential.

Crop protection

The mix of warm days and frosty nights make Medax Max or K2 or Ceraide types the more suitable products where growth regulation is to be applied. These are best applied during stem extension so it is still too early for most crops. All PGRs work best when crops are actively growing.

Fungicide will be needed now or shortly on winter barley – watch for the presence of mildew and net blotch, as well as rhyncho. First fungicides will tend to be a triazole plus a strobilurin or SDHI mix.

Forward oats are mainly past GS31 so PGR will be needed. This might be Ceraide, Medax Max or a Moddus/CCC mix. Winter wheat is likely to be between GS30 and GS31 in the next two weeks so it will soon be time for a CCC or Moddus/CCC or Medax Max treatment. The latter option will be more satisfactory if conditions remain cold with a risk of frost.

Complete any remaining weed control with this initial PGR.