Oilseed rape crops appear to have survived the winter reasonably well helped by the plentiful food source in the hedgerows to keep pigeons well fed until mid-February. Plants have now started to extend and in some cases flower buds are visible.
Since the new Galera (clopyralid + picloram) label has been introduced with the cut-off date of flower buds visible and earliest application date of March 1 (the same as Dow Shield 400), this has left the application timing very limited and in many cases impossible, which gives more fuel to the argument that pre-emergence herbicides are necessary.
The spring Galera timing was always difficult due to the shortage of spray days, but now mild winters and stem extension happening before March 1 have made it a very difficult product to use.
Tebuconazole recommendations for light leaf spot have been made, where conditions have allowed, this will give us disease protection until April when an early yellow bud spray will be applied for sclerotinia control and light leaf spot again. ‘Normal’ OSR crops are having, or have had, their first 50:50 dose of nitrogen, the second dose will be around the end of March.
In total these crops will receive 200-220kg/hectare. For large canopies which have been early sown, drop this down to 160-180kg/ha. Large canopies are usually defined as having a GAI of 1 or more at the end of February.
Spring barley and bean drilling have been delayed by wet weather but some crops have been sown on lighter ground and pre-emergence herbicides are either applied or lined up ready to apply when drilling is complete.
For both crops, tank mixes have been based around pendimethalin in high black-grass situations. Many of the products used are recommended using EAMU approvals, so remember to keep the conditions of use in the records.
As always with beans and peas it is important to stack up active ingredients due to the limited and expensive post-emergence options. Always try and get a pre-drill treatment of glyphosate on where possible, especially in black-grass or brome situations.
The first application of nitrogen for spring barley will be applied at tramlines visible stage, or in the seedbeds along with 10-15kg of sulphur.
Despite lower populations of grass-weeds in winter cereals due to later drilling, the black-grass and brome which have survived the autumn’s herbicide applications have been growing away nicely and will require the best herbicide coverage possible.
Making sure water volumes and spray quality is at the manufacturers’ recommended rates and using angled nozzles will ensure best coverage of the leaf and it is carried out in good growing conditions for best uptake.
We are starting to look ahead to T0 fungicide applications, with disease infection as it is at the minute it is making us think the crops will need an earlier treatment. However, calendar date is partly irrelevant, it’s all about protecting final leaf 4 from septoria, and we will be dissecting a lot of plants prior to recommendations to make sure the right leaf is being protected.
As always we aim to keep the cost to a minimum, and it’s looking likely the T0, as like last year, will be based around chlorothalanil. But chlorothalanil is only a septoria product and there is plenty of rust, yellow and brown present in the crops; if these are ‘life threatening’ a triazole or strobilurin will be added to the tank mix, and maybe even a pre-T0 as a separate pass.
If mildew is present (which it has been throughout winter) and still active then a protectant mildewicide will be added and maybe a morpholine for knock-down.