Autumn cereals – an agrochemical update

Agrochemical and Grass Seed Director David Cairns provides an update on the condition of autumn cereals


Autumn was one of the most difficult planting seasons for a number of years and in some parts of country only a very small percentage of winter crops are drilled. At the MSP farm we fell a little short, however we are fortunate to have been able to get a reasonable area drilled.


Crop health

Cereal crops have established well when they have gone into good seedbeds, and in some cases have managed to put out 1-2 tillers. Some of the later drilled crops which haven’t gone into a good seedbed can be quite patchy and lack a lot of top growth, so they will require some early nitrogen to try and push them on.


Implications on weed control

Some of the crops drilled received herbicide and are doing well, while some of those drilled later won’t have the grass weed pressure but we must remain vigilant as crops will be quite open and so won’t be able to give natural competition. There are lots of options for broadleaved weed control and we will consider the best solution as time progresses.


Implications on disease control

Obviously thinner crops with less potential generally have lower disease pressure, so fungicide strategies should be adopted to cope with this. However, we must remember that prevention is always best when it comes to disease control.


Implications on PGR

Careful management will be needed with nitrogen inputs and growth regulators to ensure that growth is controlled and tillers are maintained to compensate plant populations. Sometimes in crops with poorer root structure, you can get a lot of fluffy top growth and this will need targeted PGR applications but without stressing the crop.


Agrochemicals for 2020

As has been widely publicised, we have a lot of product revocations in place for this season. Two of the main ones in disease control are Chlorothalonil and Fenpropimorph, with programmes needed to ensure these are incorporated ahead of use updates.

All of the other existing chemistry in terms of Triazoles and SDHI actives are still available this season and will be backbone of strategies, but the new active Revysol is going to be available and growers will be keen to have a look and see at this option, particularly on higher yield potential fields.


Going forward

Crops will need careful management on a field by field basis this season to try and maximise whatever yield potential is available.

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