An update on current crop conditions

Following an interesting 2018, we should take a look at current crop conditions. We have come out of the back end of the year, and such a kind winter, with winter cereal crops that are looking fantastic, with very high plant populations and well-established crops.

Such great current crop conditions don’t come without their challenges though, so as we enter the Spring season there is some attention needed. MSP Technical Officer, Ben Gothorp, tells us what we should watch out for in the coming weeks.

The potential of active disease

Such favourable growing conditions, as previously mentioned, do bring a challenge in the form of disease.

Because of the kind winter and the thick crops there are very high levels of active disease in winter crops, particularly Septoria and mildew in wheat, with high levels even being observed in even the most resistant varieties such as KWS Extase and LG Sundance – stressing the importance of a robust fungicide programme.

It is a similar story in winter barley crops with very high levels of active mildew in the bottom of the dense crops, which will need to be tackled sooner rather than later.

Nitrogen management

Nitrogen management will be of great importance in the coming weeks to manage these thick crop canopies as best we can. It is of importance to get early nitrogen onto winter barley crops to maintain the extra tillers that they are carrying from the winter.

Oilseed Rape crops

Oilseed Rape crops have woken up and are now moving towards stem extension. Canopy management will be important in these thick, forward rape crops and again, nitrogen management will be of great importance.

Early spring drilling

A number of growers down the east coast have already drilled their spring barley crops and we are awaiting their emergence and praying for the continuation of what feels like an early spring to look after these newly sown spring cereal crops. If we continue to see good conditions, the yield potential is certainly looking good for these crops.

Looking ahead, cropping is changing. We’ve seen a shift to more winter drilling this year, and more and more crops are being drilled with reduced cultivations. This brings about new management issues and if we want to maximise the yields in a sustainable way, we must give thought as it how we achieve that in future.

Fungicide resistance

A particularly a hot topic, there is a declining control over Septoria and ramularia. This is stressing that our current chemistry needs support, so the importance of proper fungicide strategies/programme’s is paramount right now.

Legislative updates to consider

As growers know, the regulatory situation is currently very fluid, with active ingredient revocations on the horizon for a number of actives, including the triazoles and Chlorothalonil under scrutiny. Label changes and restrictions are potentially something to look out for with agriculture in the spotlight.

At MSP, we have a team of agronomists that can work with you to formulate a crop management programme specifically for your farm, and with consideration to all industry issues.

Want to discuss your options with an MSP advisor? Contact us now!