With rainfall in June being reported as among the highest on record, crops are under stress due to water-logged soils and high disease pressure.
According to the British Beet Research Organisation (BBRO), some sugar beet growers have experienced six months of rain within 30 days.
As a result, waterlogged patches in fields are causing beet to look yellow, red or wilted as a result of poor growth, according to the organisation.
“The intense nature of some of this rain has tested the resilience of the soil to cope, especially where the soil structure is poor or where seedbeds had been worked up in less than ideal conditions.”
Consequently, rooting has suffered, leading to some crops showing signs of nutrient deficiency, in particular, manganese, according to BBRO. “Foliar nutrient applications may help crops recover, especially where root uptake has been compromised but this may not work in all situations.”
Hutchinson’s root crop technical manager, Darryl Shailes, believes some nutrients may have been lost down the soil profile.
“Work done at Brooms Barn on sugar beet suggests that [150-200mm] amount of rain over a short period of time can move available nitrogen down the soil profile by 1.5m.”
With regards to cereals, intense rain showers have led to lodging in some barley crops.
One Oxfordshire farmer says: “Much of the barley around here is showing some degree of lodging despite robust PGR and modest nitrogen.
“We had 40mm here around three weeks ago in one afternoon and the wind and rain last week made it considerably worse.”
Lodging is also significant in Herefordshire, according to Mark Wood, farm manager JPF Clay Farms, Fawley. “There is a lot of lodging around here. I’m looking at a 30-acre field that is flat.”
He puts the lack of lodging on his farm down to use of growth regulators, appropriate seed rates and variety choice.
Additionally, a number of growers and agronomists have reported fusarium infection in cereal crops.
See also: Detecting early disease pressure
ProCam agronomist, Paul Gruber, says: It’s affecting some of the spring barleys. It could be lack of seed dressing or the inclemency of June. There is also a little fusarium in some of the wheat but nothing like 2012.”