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Crop Watch Bedfordshire/Hertfordshire - Farmers Weekly - Ben Pledger

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Crops on lighter land around here really did not like the Easter bank holiday weekend’s temperatures. Stress on winter cereals is becoming more evident on lighter, more drought-prone land.

Farmers Weekly Crop Watch May 2019 week 1

 The crops showing the most stress are winter oats. In places these are now nearly completely brown with stress induced leaf spot, with variances in stress levels easily identified by soil type.

Some spring drilled crops are also flagging to different degrees, with the least affected being ones where seed-beds were prepared over winter or in direct drill situations where moisture was conserved.

This year, more so than in the recent past, getting sugar beet up and away is a top priority with regard to getting it to a stage where it will harden to infection from virus yellows. Most of my beet is between cotyledon stage and four true leaves.

With the first reports of peach-potato aphid (myzus persicae) being found in crops, thoughts now turn to application of insecticide to take these out. Fortunately, thiacloprid has been granted an emergency approval for two applications in sugar beet this season, so the armoury has been widened from the single application of flonicamid.

Thinking about label restrictions, the first application to the crops if needed will be thiacloprid. Looking at all pesticide applications to beet this year, tank mixing and application intervals will need carefully thought to reach the desired outcome without unduly stressing the crop.

Depending mainly on drilling date, T1 fungicide applications have been or are about to be applied to wheat crops. Although conditions have been conducive for a low septoria season, the disease is still present in the base of a fair number of crops.

With leaf five now rubbing on leaf three, rapid transfer of this disease up the plant is possible, especially if the weather becomes unsettled and we get some rain, or even heavy dews.

SDHI fungicides are still being considered in these situations, especially as it will bring an element of drought tolerance to the crops as well.