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Wheat growth stage countdown (2)

After two seasons of considerable crop variability FGinsight will be following wheat fields on four farms from Kent to Berwickshire, tracking growth stage development through the season together with what agronomic actions may be necessary. This update relates to mid April.


Marianne   Curtis

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Marianne   Curtis
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Leaf 3 emergence Crusoe, Sittingbourne, Kent
Leaf 3 emergence Crusoe, Sittingbourne, Kent

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Wheat growth stage countdown (1) Wheat growth stage countdown (1)

Tristan Gibbs, independent agronomist, Sittingbourne, Kent. Crusoe drilled September 26, Siskin drilled October 6.

Tristan Gibbs, independent agronomist, Sittingbourne, Kent. Crusoe drilled September 26, Siskin drilled October 6.

Early-drilled Crusoe has raced ahead of schedule on its early light land site in north Kent, despite the cold wet spring. With leaf three at various stages of emergence in mid-April we should be applying a T1 spray by the end of the third week of April this year – this late is not the norm.

 

Plenty of biomass means we’ve opted for a robust PGR programme, split across pre-T0, T0 with a first fungicide in early April, and again at T1. The first dose of 40kgN/ha with sulphur was varied +/-25% according to satellite GAI data, with 90kgN/ha as urea due in mid-April, again adjusted to satellite data.

 

The jury is still out on T1 fungicide choices, but eyespot and septoria are concerns in Crusoe due to the early drilling date, given the wet and cold spring so far. There’s also brown rust and mildew at low levels.

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By contrast Siskin is developing far more in line with expectations. It was at GS31 with leaf four fully emerged at the end of the second week of April and due its T0 any day – but still two full weeks behind Crusoe.

 

PGR will be a standard programme of chlormequat and trinexapac, while strong disease resistance, especially to septoria, means T0 fungicides will be kept to just a chlorothalonil. Day length should help keep development in check, so we’re aiming for a T1 spray at the end of April/start of May.

Simon Beddows, farmer, Dunsden Green Farm, Berks. Skyfall drilled October 11, Zyatt drilled October 24.

Simon Beddows, farmer, Dunsden Green Farm, Berks. Skyfall drilled October 11, Zyatt drilled October 24.

The difference between Zyatt and Skyfall remains small and the height difference between them has evened out. Leaf four is now emerged on Skyfall and it is at GS31. Zyatt is a touch behind at GS30, with leaf four just emerging.

 

T0 sprays are now going on (cholorothalonil + chlormequat) but the rate for Zyatt will be variable under a trial I’ve devised after sharing my views with experts at SOYL a few years back. I found last year that reducing PGR rates on our lighter land improved yield by 0.4t/ha. That was for a couple of tramlines in one field.

 

This season I’m extending this concept. With satellite imaging recording biomass I’ll be doing the same with the fungicide programme. Both crops will get a T0 but Zyatt’s rating of 6.2 makes variable rates worth looking into as the risk isn’t so great. We do have some septoria in the base, but little else at the moment.

 

Zyatt’s resistance also means I might be able to limit SDHI selection at T1 and prothioconazole + chlorothalonil is planned. But Skyfall will probably need bixafen in there.

 

Unfortunately, the weather has hampered farming operations and a concern is poor root structure. The T1 will include a second PGR and I’m bringing part of my nitrogen forward – a little and often approach to ensure sufficient nitrogen is available.

More Beddows

Sean Sparling, AICC chairman, Lincoln Heath. Two fields of Kerrin, drilled September 12 and October 5.

Sean Sparling, AICC chairman, Lincoln Heath. Two fields of Kerrin, drilled September 12 and October 5.

Both Kerrin fields are still some way apart. The early drilled crop has leaf three emerging on the main stem and a T1 is now due – this is the most forward crop I manage. However, the later drilled crop is probably two weeks behind. By calendar date that is some way behind where we would normally be.

 

It has been wet and windy so septoria and stem-based browning are the major concerns. Both are free of yellow rust but I have noticed a little in Leeds, and unsurprisingly Reflection. Both will get an azole + SDHI + chlorothalonil mix at T1, and both had T0 applications.

 

The early drilled crop clearly benefitted from the good weather following planting. It was warm and with plenty of organic matter applied it got going very quickly. It is just below knee height.

 

But the big question is how much N is still in there and how much has gone? Testing will take place to determine nutrient availability, but we could be looking at 120kg N/ha for the later drilled crop. The early drilled crop has retained its fibrous root structure but the later drilled crop isn’t so healthy in this regard. It still has reasonable potential, and the YEN initiative has shown us the importance of early biomass. But we need to give the later drilled crop a helping hand.

 

If the weather picks up and crops pick up nutrients they could race through the growth stages. I would advise close monitoring of later drilled crops as the gap to GS39 could be quite short.

David Fuller, farmer, Coldstream Mains, Berwickshire. Grafton drilled September 4, KWS Lili drilled September 20.

David Fuller, farmer, Coldstream Mains, Berwickshire. Grafton drilled September 4, KWS Lili drilled September 20.

Timely nutrition has pepped crops up well. The severe winter weather hit the early-sown Grafton and it lost more tillers than usual on its lighter hillside field. But manganese, followed by 60kgN/ha with sulphur, has removed those stress factors. It is now at GS30-31, looking a much better colour and should hold onto its remaining tillers.

 

The KWS Lili on alluvial soil beside the River Tweed is a bit further behind at GS30, but has no tiller issues. It is in the YEN project, so received 80kgN/ha plus sulphur in the same week as the Grafton.

 

Disease has been held down by the cold weather, which is a relief after 95mm of rain from 14 wet days in the past three weeks. We’ve seen no rusts, but septoria is lurking in the bottom of crops, so I’m still planning to go in with a T0, probably Cherokee (chlorothalonil + cyproconazole + propiconazole).

 

There has been some talk about missing out on a T0, but I don’t agree. Next week’s forecast looks promising for a T0 treatment, which would then leave a 2-3 week gap to T1. I certainly don’t want to bring T1 spraying earlier; it’s essential to protect leaf three properly. Product choice will probably be Aviator or Ascra. I want to include prothioconazole, as last time we had a late, wet spring and fusarium was quite an issue at harvest.

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