Tillage Update June 25th
Now is a good time to walk your crops, assess some of the management decisions made and review what worked well and what you might change for next year. Tillage specialist Ciaran Collins has some advice.
Time for review
As the last inputs are applied to crops now is a good time to walk crops and review agronomy decisions made throughout the season.
What worked? What didn’t work? What will I do differently next year?
The combine will be the ultimate arbitrator but walking crops at this time of year can unearth many areas where the correct agronomy decisions were made, or not, and can inform us of changes we need to make next year.
Variety choice is one of the key integrated pest management (IPM) techniques where disease ratings can dictate the amount of fungicides used. It is very useful to compare the level of disease in one variety over another. Always look for the untreated. While obstacles such as electricity poles and trees are a nuisance for field work, they often reveal and untreated area which is a useful comparison with the treated area. While everything must be taken in the context of this year’s weather, which may not be repeated next season, but variety comparisons in the same field are still valid.
Fig 1: Rhyncho in untreated Planet spring barley around an electricity pole
Weed control is becoming more difficult especially where crop rotation is not practiced and weeds are treated with the same active ingredients annually. In some cases this can lead to resistance and there is evidence of this with resistant corn marigold, wild oats and increasingly chickweed.
- What weeds are present in my fields?
- Why are they not controlled?
- Did I use the correct product and rate of that product?
- What were the weather conditions like at the time?
- Do I have a resistance issue?
Finding answers to these questions now will help with crop choice and input decisions next season. A common example of poor weed control this season is chickweed in cereals. We are aware that there is a level of resistance to the sulfonylurea herbicides, but the reason for uncontrolled chickweed in many cases lies with the partner product. Again, lessons for next season.
Fig 2: Uncontrolled chickweed in winter wheat after using Pacifica Plus and Cameo Max – Two sulfonylurea herbicides