Well, what a change in the weather. Spring has finally sprung after two autumnal weeks. Crops will now begin to move rapidly through their growth stages. The long-range weather forecast shows rain is forecast but in and around some bright sunny weather, allowing growers to finally catch up with their long list of outstanding jobs.
The recent weather here in the east has certainly highlighted any in-field drainage issues, with some areas looking more like a duck pond than a cropped field.
On-farm conversations with my growers tend to be based around the weather, particularly what had been done this time last year and where crop growth stages were. This year is certainly highlighting that one year is never the same as the next in the farming calendar.
However, we all know that Mother Nature will soon work her magic and when crops begin to grow everything will balance out.
My observations in the region
These now range from growth stage 30 to the more forward crops being at growth stage 32/33. T0 fungicides were applied where possible, with T1 fungicides already applied on the more forward crops or scheduled to be applied this week – weather depending. The fungicide programmes will be based around an SDHI, azole + multi-site mix. Rust levels are low due to the cold snaps caused by "The Beast from the East" however, levels of septoria remain high on the older leaves. With the recent wet weather followed by much warmer conditions, septoria is going to thrive. The problem is that, given the latent period of four to six weeks from infection to expression of symptoms, it is difficult to apply a management plan other than a robust T1 – especially given the likelihood of septoria pressure this year.
These now range from growth stage 31 up to flag leaf emerging.
Winter oilseed rape
This is generally looking well and is now at early - mid flowering. Sclerotinia programmes are now being discussed.
The first of the spring barley, spring wheat, beans and sugar beet have now emerged. It is important with any spring crop that it is established in good conditions so the plant can get away and start growing as soon as it's drilled.
As the weather forecast continues to look relatively good for the short term, although it's certainly very different from previous years, here's hoping we can all crack on and get the spring season underway.
For more information on any of the above, please get in touch with your Frontier contact.