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How to manage early drilled wheat crops this season

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If you've drilled your wheat crop early this year, you may be wondering how to mitigate the challenges that tend to become apparent at this time of the season. Grassweeds, barley yellow dwarf virus (BYDV) and the crop's general nutrition are important to keep on top of when managing your crop.

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Develop your soil management plan pre-harvest

​In the first blog of this soil management series, we're exploring why it's vital to start planning for soil management in autumn-drilled crops well in advance of planting; when the previous crop is still in the ground.

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How we supported this year's gold medal YEN winner, Tim Lamyman

This week we were delighted to hear that one of our customers, Tim Lamyman, has scooped both a silver and gold medal in this year's Yield Enhancement Network (YEN) competition. Congratulations, Tim!

The 2019/20 cropping season was one that none of us will forget in a hurry, with one of the wettest autumns and winters in recent history. This was followed in quick succession by a drought and low levels of incoming solar radiation during the key grain filling period. 

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Grassweed series: Stubble management for grassweed control

Last month we published the first in our series of blogs on grassweed management, looking specifically at black-grass, its characteristics and the strategies to take pre-harvest. You can read the blog here.

As with management before harvest, efforts to control grassweeds are crucial post-harvest too. Cultivation strategies during this time can have a significant impact on the overall grassweed burden for the following crop, but it is important to understand the biology of the individual species in order to use cultural options to the best effect. 

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Pre-harvest grain store management

The ability to store grain can be a fundamental aspect of a crop marketing strategy, providing growers with the opportunity to sell for later movement.

Of course, this can only be successful when effective grain storage facilities and management plans are in place, as these are pivotal for safeguarding premiums and grain quality to lessen the risk of rejections and claims.

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Grassweed series: Black-grass management pre-harvest

Black-grass is major problem on many UK farms and it is now widely accepted that fully integrated solutions to manage the weed are fundamental to achieving any kind of success. Ultimately, most approaches are aimed at limiting seed return in order to reduce the overall population pressure.

In this blog, I discuss a number of management options that should be considered pre-harvest to reduce seed return and which should form part of an overall, long term plan to eradicate the weed.

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Ramularia leaf spot in barley – life after chlorothalonil

Ramularia causes leaf spot symptoms in barley. While it has typically been more of an issue in the north of the UK, it is now being reported with increasing frequency further south. The disease has historically been a bigger issue in spring barley but the economic losses in winter barley are now an increasing problem too.

The disease has a complicated life cycle and is seed, air and trash-borne. The fungus, Ramularia collo-cygni, causes ramularia and grows from infected seed. It then moves systemically within new plant growth. Airborne spores produced on trash and crop debris can also infect plants.

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Fungicide strategies as we approach the critical spray timings in winter wheat

There are no "blue prints" when it comes to cereal fungicide strategies. In fact, all plans should be under constant review based on risk assessment, factoring in variety, drilling date, weather, geography and spraying capacity.

One legacy of the winter we are just coming out of is that crops vary significantly, both in terms of growth stage and current levels of disease. Generally, septoria pressure is low due to so many crops being drilled much later, but the disease can still be found as a result of the mild, wet winter.

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Ensure T1 sprays hit the target

Disease control this season could be more challenging than normal, given the range of crops that are in the ground. We have everything from early-September-sown crops to varieties such as Skyfall which were still being drilled in early-March. 

Variety and drilling date can have a significant impact on the speed at which a crop develops; in particular the time taken to reach BBCH 31.

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Managing lodging risk in cereals this spring

Lodging is described by Berry, 1998 as "The permanent displacement of plant stems from the vertical" which "occurs on average once every four years in UK wheat crops, when it reduces the yield and bread-making quality of grain." Fischer and Stapper, 1987 also report that "Lodging can reduce yields from 7 – 35%, with the greatest yield reductions oc...

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Hold your nerve – don’t drill fields with bad black-grass until mid-October

The drilling of cereals is progressing at pace in many parts of the UK, with the majority of crops going into good seedbeds. However, there are some areas that could do with a decent night's rain and, more importantly, those who have fields with a black-grass problem should actually be prepared to wait. Managing black-grass It is now well accepted ...

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How to best protect your investment at T3 in winter wheat

In spite of turbulent weather this spring most crops are looking reasonably clean. The focus now turns to protecting the investment made to date and ensuring crops fulfil their full potential, both in-terms of yield and quality. The true fusarium risk this season is still to evolve and will very much depend on the weather conditions in the next cou...

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What can you do to minimise erucic acid levels in oilseed rape?

Oilseed rape remains one of the most profitable break crops and has a key role to play in the rotation. This is particularly true where there is a black-grass issue due to the ability to use non-resistant chemistry. However, increasing levels of erucic acid are proving problematic. Oilseed rape is an expensive crop to grow so any rejections due to ...

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Has tram lining weed seed brought something new to the party when it comes to black-grass management?

Five months on since harvest feels like a good time to review what, if anything, tram lining has added to the armoury when it comes to the management of black-grass.By way of a re-cap, Frontier Agriculture, in collaboration with EW Davies farms Ltd, Rothamsted, AHDB and Primary Sales from Western Australia, installed a 'chaff deck' onto farmer Jere...

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Avadex - part of a pre-em herbicide stack to fight black-grass

When it comes to managing 'difficult' grass weeds in cereal crops there is no silver bullet. What's required is a long-term plan that encompasses a range of measures which can be adapted to accommodate local conditions and seasonal variations. Herbicide programmes remain an essential element of black-grass control. With the decline in activity of p...

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