Rain was welcome

This time last year the drought was biting and it nearly did so again this year so the recent rain was generally welcome. The temperature increase is also very welcome and the two together may now give a spell of accelerated growth.

Some winter crops, especially winter barley, look somewhat pale. This is probably due to a lower uptake of nitrogen coupled with a lack of chlorophyll intensity. Crops are mainly very short and squat but we could see them stretch shortly.

All winter crops are generally clean in terms of foliar disease and low levels in May can be a big help for control.

Winter crops

Winter barley crops are quickly moving to awns visible. This is most influenced by variety and sowing date. The most advanced crops are earing out while others have just seen flag leaves emerge. Where later crops are already sprayed three to four weeks, a stop-gap fungicide should be applied to carry the crop to final fungicide. This could be a straight triazole or a reduced rate of a product like Bontima or Ceriax to give prothioconazole a rest.

It is important to have final fungicides applied early rather than late, especially the contact component to help prevent ramularia, as there have been many stress factors all spring.

Final fungicide options on winter barley include Ceriax, Elatus Era, Fandango, Macfare Xpro, Mandarin Xpro, Opera, Revystar XL, Variano Xpro and Siltra Xpro, or mixtures containing prothioconazole and an SDHI or strobilurin. All sprays should have folpet added to help against ramularia.

Most wheat crops are a while away from the T2 flag leaf emerged fungicide but some have flag leaves emerging. Where possible, change the actives used at T1 for the T2. Options include all the standard SDHI mixtures and straights, or either Lentyma or Revysol XL, or the Inatreq co-packs of Questar, Peacoq or Aquino if not used previously.

Winter oats might also get a flag leaf spray if sprayed initially a few weeks ago. Crops sprayed more recently will get the second and final fungicide at earing out stage.

Spring crops

Early crops have gone into stem extension so herbicides should be applied. Trace element deficiencies are evident but the rain may provide a natural cure in most crops. Treat fields that have regular problems.

Herbicides will tend to be based on SU mixes plus products like Galaxy, Pixxaro, Zypar or fluroxypyr.

First fungicide options include Bontima, Boogie Xpro, Cebara, Ceriax , Coyote, Elatus Era, Mandarin, Priaxor, Siltra, Variano, Velogy, Zephyr, or perhaps just prothioconazole plus folpet.

Frost damage

I found no evidence of frost kill in any winter barley or wheat crops in mid Leinster last weekend. However, I did find problems in a winter oat crop at second-last leaf emerging stage. The first stem I opened had a dead ear while the leaves looked healthy. However, all subsequent stems had healthy panicles and so the problem seems to be at a low level at worst. And I only found this issue in one of the many crops I visited, so hopefully it is not widespread.