With this winter’s exceptionally mild conditions being forecast to continue well into the New Year, wheat growers are being warned of the increased risk from brown and yellow rust.
With the Met Office predicting the on-going mild weather conditions to continue into January, brown and yellow rust could wreak havoc on over-wintered crops, says Andy Bailey, cereal fungicides technical specialist for Adama Agricultural Solutions.
Rust symptoms can be difficult to spot during the early autumn, and usually only become apparent in the spring. If left untreated, severe infections attack can plant ears, resulting in yield losses of 40-50 per cent in the very worst cases.
Mr Bailey says: “Both diseases are favoured by mild winters and to date it has been the fourth warmest start to December on record with temperatures 3.2decC higher than average for this time of year.
“If conditions remain mild and we don’t get the heavy frosts needed to kill off existing rust inoculum, we could see extremely high levels of infection in the spring.”