There were some warmer days last week and that combined with rain has helped some crops which were struggling to improve. The colder temperatures at present may help to keep disease levels lower, but overall crops would benefit from a little bit of warmth and sunshine for grain fill.

Spring barley: Many late April-sown spring barley crops are at flag leaf emergence or awns emerging. Awns emerging is the ideal time to apply the final fungicide to control ramularia. However, consult with your adviser on this, as in some cases it may not be long since the first fungicide was applied. In most cases, the final fungicide will be an SDHI and an azole. Products like Balaya plus Imperis or Macfare Xpro or Mandarin are options here. Folpet should be used here to prevent ramularia and to prevent resistance build up to the other chemistry. If crops were late sown and do not look likely to meet a high yield, then tailor your spend accordingly with a mix of less expensive products, but include folpet in the mix at around 1.2l/ha.

Spring oats

The final fungicide on spring oats at ear emergence could contain Proline plus Comet, or Elatus Era. Some late-sown crops may still be able to avail of plant growth regulator.

Spring beans

Most crops are flowering. The first fungicide should be applied at the start of flowering. Signum or Elatus Era are good choices here.


Blight sprays need extra attention this year. All applications should have a mix of chemistry in order to help products to work, to fight against a new blight strain and to prevent resistance build up. Chemistry should also be alternated so try and switch products every time you spray. Consult with your advisor on your plan. Products like cymoxanil are short-lived and, according to Teagasc, not persistent between spraying intervals. This means it is not a good partner in a mix. However, if disease has developed in a crop, it has a role to play.

Grass weeds

Keep an eye out for grass weeds in winter crops and pull any weeds that you see. You may need to spray off areas of fields before some weeds, like blackgrass, go to seed. It is better to spray a small area than to let the weed go completely out of control.

Another option would be to wholecrop or top the crop before the plants go to seed and spray any regrowth after, but you need to be sure seeds aren’t viable. You can take a look at some weeds on the tillage pages this week. It is also important to map where different weeds are found and then try and find out where the weed came from and prevent it from happening again.

Crop walk:

There are plenty of crop walks on at this time of the year. Get out to some and see what’s new in the fields. It’s also a great opportunity to meet other farmers.