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Tillage Update May 7th

07 May 2020
Type Media Article

Get the latest advice on disease control in cereals and weed control in maize, potatoes and beet. Videos are on timing the final fungicide on winter barley, ramularia control and best practice for weed control in potatoes.

Disease control

Most winter wheat crops are at Leaf 3 fully emerged at this stage although there is some variation within crops. Even the late sown crops should now be due for the leaf three (T1) application, this needs to be completed as soon as possible to build a strong disease control programme. Even though the flag leaf application will give most response in a well-timed T1 application will lay good foundations for the programme.

Winter barley has reached the stage now where the final fungicide needs to be applied. In the following video Ciaran Collins describes the ideal timing for that final fungicide. In the video Ciaran details the research findings from the fungicide timing trials which clearly indicate that there is a significant benefit from applying the fungicide as the awns emerge rather than waiting for the ear to be fully emerged and flowering.

In the second video Steven Kildea discusses disease control in winter barley with a particular emphasis on how to control ramularia. Steven discusses the roles of the different active ingredients and projects forward to look at how we might change programmes to control ramularia when the use of chlorothalonil expires on May 20th this year. 

In our weekly podcast Deidre Doyle looks at disease control in spring barley as crops approach mid tillering stage. In the podcast Deidre looks at the programmes to control the common diseases such as rynchosporium, net blotch, mildew and ramularia and she outlines the ideal timings of these applications. Listen in here

Weed control

Many of the early sown spring cereal crops have already received their herbicides for both broadleaved weeds and wild oats as well as an aphicide to control BYDV, for the later sown crops they will be done in the next week or so. One of the most important jobs to be done after these applications is to walk the crops afterwards and assess the effectiveness of the application. This is an important IPM technique as this will inform you if the choice of products used were effective, if not growers will have to ask why these were not effective and are there possible resistance issues which will mean that a change of approach is needed.

In specialist crops such as maize, beet and potatoes weed control is vital for the performance of these crops. In the case of maize sown under plastic the herbicide was applied at sowing time but again crops should be inspected to see if any weeds are coming through and a post emergence strategy control these weeds should be planned if needed.

In beet, some crops have received their first herbicide application and the second application is normally timed 12-14 days later to correspond with the next flush of weeds. These applications are usually a mix of both contact and residual herbicides, for the residual herbicides to work properly especially in the second application ideally they should be applied to damp soil. This will improve the uptake of the chemical and will deliver longer control. The choice of products used will largely depend on the most predominate weeds in the field.

Planting of potatoes finished earlier for most growers with some having planted and applied a herbicide in April which is very unusual. Weed control in potatoes is dominated by pre-emergence residual herbicides so again these should be applied when the ridges are damp for best control. Shay Phelan outlines the optimum strategy for weed control in potatoes in the following video 

Virtual crop walk

As a response to the Covid 19 restrictions Teagasc Oak Park are hosting a virtual crop walk (through Zoom) looking at crops in the research centre on Thursday May 7th at 6.30pm. Crops Specialists Ciaran Collins and Shay Phelan will be joined by plant pathologist Dr. Steven Kildea to discuss the agronomy of winter barley, winter wheat and spring barley. The session will be live and fully interactive so you can ask questions directly to any of the three experts.

To participate, you must register online with your email


you will then be sent an email with a link that will take you through directly to the webinar. Anyone who wishes to participate should register in advance of the meeting.