Harvest coming quick

The good weather and sunshine over much of the past week has accelerated crop development and put a turn on winter barley crops. It has speeded up the likely start of harvest for winter barley but now it is a matter of how long the break in the weather will last.

Some spring crops were under a bit of pressure for water but this may be solved now. Crows have begun to attack winter barley but again the rain may help relieve the pressure to attack crops. Crops had become relatively tall in recent weeks but most seem strong enough unless there is a storm – many crops are certainly good enough to lean over or even go down under severe pressure.

Yellow leaves

Assuming that yellow leaves are BYDV, there are certainly some around in all crops. But given that very many crops received no specific BYDV aphicide, the problem is not bad. This points to the potential value of having an improved monitoring system for aphid and BYDV movement. That said, little bits of late-sown barley are showing a lot of yellow leaves which supports much of the old advice.

Aphid numbers appear to be building and we are likely to see them appear on the heads of cereal crops in the near future. However, there is not much we can do about them anymore, given that there are so few aphicides cleared for this timing. Transform is an option in a really high pressure situation, but many problems are best sorted by nature.

Final sprays

Final fungicides need to be applied on the last of the winter wheat and spring barley, and to spring wheat and oats. Crops are generally very clean but ramularia has begun to appear in some crops further south and it is very aggressive. It is very important to have folpet applied early to give it a chance against ramularia.

Flowering moved very quickly in winter wheat so most crops are already sprayed. A Prosaro or Gleam equivalent should be used on wheat, possibly plus a strobilurin. On late spring barley, this might be prothioconazole plus a strobilurin or SDHI, plus folpet for ramularia control. On spring oats, the final spray at heading out might be Elatus Era. The presence of active mildew might require Tern to be added in some crops.

Oilseed rape

Crops are showing signs of ripening so keep an eye on desiccation stage. Some early crops may be at the point of spraying off while others may be a little while away. High temperatures speed up maturation but allow 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. Use plenty water (200 l/ha or more) to get glyphosate down into the canopy but avoid big droplets.

Spring rape is generally in flower and looking quite well. Keep an eye out for high pollen beetle numbers as they can destroy the last of the flowers and pods. If an insecticide is necessary, spray very early in the morning to avoid periods of bee activity.