The rain in recent days has been good for crops in the ground, but has delayed planting.

Farmers in the northwest and southeast have a good bit of cereals to get in still, and maize and beet continues across the country. Potato farmers are really under pressure at present as well.

Spring cereals

Spring cereals should get the remainder of their nitrogen as soon as possible to keep them growing, and all phosphorus and potassium should be out by now. Herbicides are being applied to early crops.

On spring barley, you can use low rates on small weeds. You will need a sulphonyl urea product along with something like fluroxypyr or Arylex chemistry, so Starane, Binder, Galaxy or Pixxaro. Wild oat spray can be added to this mix. Add CeCeCe before GS30 where crops need help to tiller out.


There are a lot of farmers wondering what to do about aphids, and reporting them in crops. Aphids spread barley yellow dwarf virus. The advice from Teagasc is to spray at the three to four leaf stage.

A full rate of a pyrethroid should be applied. There is absolutely no advantage to spraying crops twice, and doing so may contribute to resistance building up in aphid populations.

Research shows that spraying at the four-leaf stage delivers the highest yield. Untreated crops in Teagasc research had 36.4% infection, compared to 8.6% infection where crops were sprayed at four leaves.

No treatment resulted in a yield loss of 1.3t/ha (0.5t/ac). Some farmers have stopped using aphicides, while others use them only in a high-risk situation.

This is to protect natural predators like ladybirds, which can actually help to control the aphids. However, in a year like this where crops were planted very late, the advice is to spray.

Some farmers may be able to time their aphicide spray with the herbicide, but farmers with late-germinating weeds may need to go separately.

If you are going separately, then add in nutrition that the crop needs like manganese or magnesium where you know there are deficiencies.

If wild oats are up they could be controlled at this timing as well, but you need to be sure they are emerged. Canary grass will emerge later than wild oats and are treated with the same herbicide – Axial Pro.

Winter barley

Most crops are now due their final fungicide or have received it. Folpet at 1.5l/ha should be included in the final fungicide to prevent Ramularia. The mix should also include a mix of an azole and an SDHI, possibly with a strobilurin as well.

These products can be applied at half rates in winter barley. There are many different options, such as Balaya plus Imperis, Siltra or Mandarin, Macfare and Elatus Era.

Winter wheat

T2s are starting on winter wheat in the south of the country. They will target the flag leaf. Remember to use different chemistry than you applied at the T1. Folpet at 1.5l/ha should be applied for the second time on the T2.

If crops are under stress, they may benefit from seaweed like Phylgreen and any nutrient deficiencies should be looked after at this stage as well.