A need to push for yield to counter lower prices

Article taken from The Scottish Farmer

Is this the season to really push crop yields? – Agrovista Chris Martin thinks it might be.

With well-timed early treatments having dampened disease pressure, he said the potential is there.  “Spring barley has mostly gone on in good time and into decent beds.  The fertiliser is in place, all we need is the moisture,” he pointed out this week – though by mid-week, the ‘moisture’ was much in evidence in most of Scotland.

“Some northern spring crops are under a little bit of mildew pressure but it is regionalised.  A specific mildewicide may be required on high risk crops but prothioconazole’s activity will be sufficient to deal with it in most situations,” he added.

He reckoned the outlook with winter crops is similar.  “Winter wheat and barley is looking pretty reasonable, helped by well-timed T0 and T1 sprays.  Soils are generally a bit dry and we have lost a few tillers off winter barley.

“These will benefit from a bit of manganese just to give them a nudge.  Crops have been checked by cooler weather earlier in the season but not enough to significantly effect crop potential.”  Which is good news as grain prices slipped, he said returns are going to come from bumper crops.  “If you’re growing for the feed market you have to grow as much as you can,” he stressed.

That cooler weather has blunted mildew, rusts and net blotch in barley and he says it’s ramularia and rhynchosporium control that is now all important.  For wheat his primary concern in septoria.

“We need some moisture to push crops along but that could re-new the septoria and rhynchosporium threat.  Both have been countered by well-timed early season strategies but there’s septoria kicking around in the base of crops, and rhynchosporium is present too.

“Following 2014 we were bound to have plenty of inoculum kicking around.  Fortunately we haven’t had a repeat of last season where T0s went on early and T1 followed suit.  Then infected leaves spread disease through plants via leaf rub.

“Despite the weather playing ball for T0 and T1 applications I wouldn’t trim fungicide investment.  Even though we are in a better situation this season and septoria and rhynchosporium have been checked, they could easily return with the right weather,” he cautioned.

When it comes to disease control in winter barley, he sees a role for older chemistry.  “We don’t see quite the same response to SDHIs in barley as we do wheat.  Also we still see effective control from azole + strob + multisite mixtures, providing they are based on prothioconazole.  Winter crops will get Jaunt (prothioconazole + fluxastrobin + trifloxystrobin) unless disease pressure is high.  Then we’ll opt for a prothioconazole-based SDHI.”

Which could also be the case for spring barley.  “Ramularia is such a concern.  SRUC research has shown that leaf wetness can be a trigger for the disease, even in the absence of rain.  We could need the potency of an SDHI like SiltraXpro Cebara (cyprodinil + isopyrazam).”

The decision for the T2 application in winter wheat is straight forwards, with all crops receiving an SDHI regardless of disease pressure.  “We see economic responses even in low pressure seasons.” 


02 May 2015

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