Winter Crops Update - 1 April 2021
Crops around the country have started to grow quite strongly in reaction to the good weather and the nitrogen applications. Michael Hennessy, Head of Teagasc Crops Knowledge Transfer gives us an update on the various winter crops.
Winter wheat is looking well in most areas including a good recovery by a number of crops which were judged to lack a little vigour over the winter. However Yellow Rust is a problem in susceptible varieties. The disease is quite severe on some varieties in the north east but more sporadic as you move south. A number of growers have already treated backward crops which had yellow rust on new growth as there was a significant likelihood the yellow rust would kill the small tillers. Low levels of yellow rust should be monitored very carefully, every couple of days, where a fungicide has not been applied to date. Ideally the aim is to get to the third last leaf emerged in crops before a fungicide is applied, which roughly three weeks away yet. However if yellow rust is spreading (especially in Bennington, Thorp and JB Diego but other crops also) then immediate treatment is warranted. Most crops are approaching or at GS30-31 stage which is the ideal time for the main plant growth regulator in wheat. Where the weather is warm and growth is good then CCC750 @ 2L/ha will suffice or where a significant lodging pressure is expected then a Moddus Mix (Trinexapac ethyl + CCC or similar) will be ideal.
Winter Barely has received all of its nitrogen by now and crops are growing strongly. There is some disease around, especially Rhynchosporium. Where disease levels are high in the crop then the first main fungicide should be applied. For other crops which are clean then the first main fungicide application can be delayed to GS 31.
Dr Stephen Kildea chats through the options for disease control winter barley in the latest Tillage Edge podcast. Listen to the podcast below.
Winter Oats have greened up after the first application of nitrogen. Approximately half the total (120-150 kg N/ha) should be applied before GS 30 with the remainder applied before GS32. These rates and timings will maximise yield and hectolitre rates.
Disease levels are generally low however there are reports of mildew in crops in Tipperary and further south and Huskey has reasonable levels of dark brown to black blotches, probably as a result of stress or disease. Keeping mildew out of the crop is a must. Growers closer to the coast or in the south should keep a close eye out for crown rust, although this can be a problem later in the year in almost any part of the country. There are fewer fungicide products available this year as Corbel is not available and other key products such as Opus (epoxiconazole) and Alto (cyproconazole) are also not available. However if either of these are in your store be sure to use them up this year or it will be expensive to dispose of them afterwards. You can check if a product is in the use up phase here . Unless mildew is a specific problem the first fungicide can be applied at GS31 and will be based around mildew control. Protective products like Talius or Midas should be added to Proline (or similar) plus a strob (Comet etc.) if rust is a problem. Plant growth regulation in most situations should centre around the Moddus mix (or similar) at GS30 and GS 32.
Teagasc have launched a series of videos to aid farmers and industry to identify the most important grass weeds found in tillage crops. These videos are part of a wider project called Enable Conservation Tillage (ECT) project. The videos, which can be viewed here address the common problem of misidentification of weeds, especially when small. When the weed is accurately identified the farmers can put in place the best measures to tackle these weeds on farm. The team also published a number of videos on grass weed resistance testing focusing on blackgrass and Italian rye grass, view it here
The earliest planted crops are at the 1-2 leaf stage. This an ideal stage to complete nitrogen (& sulphur) application to spring malting barley. The remainder of the area is being planted and considerable progress should be made in the next 5 days. Remember to take look at the soil results before planting or shortly afterwards to ensure there is sufficient P and K for high yield. There is more details on this here
Its now late for spring beans and planting now should only be on heavier ground. Yields will be compromised compared to earlier sowing and growing conditions and management will need to be ideal to get a reasonable yield from these crops. See more details on spring bean weed control here