Cold weather has hit early crop growth

Teagasc advisors say some crops have suffered due to the lack of warm weather since they were drilled.

Spring cereals are growing slowly, with a backlog of field operations; crop programmes may need adjusting.

Spring crops are showing signs of waterlogging, especially where soil structure is poor. Adjust herbicides to cater for these stressed areas, say advisors.

Crops were tillering last week (growth stages 21-25), with some advanced spring barley approaching stem extension (gs 30). The wet weather, although needed to activate fertiliser and to even-up germination, has showed up compacted and wet areas.

The majority of spring cereals had yet to receive their herbicides, and strategies may need to be adjusted to correctly time wild oat herbicides and first fungicides.

All fodder beet is planted, but emergence is slower and more uneven this year due to cold conditions. Earlier sown crops were scorched by frost. Careful assessment is required to assess populations, and when herbicide applications should begin.

Up to last week, over 65-70% of main crop potatoes were planted, leaving up to 40% later ground in the north east and north west still to be planted.

There were reports of frost damage in the north east, but less so in southern counties. The first early potatoes are expected in early June.

Winter crop growth has been very slow in the past two weeks, leaving crop development slightly later than normal. Wheat was at gs 32-37 last week, with flag leaf peeping in advanced crops.Most winter barley crops had awns emerging, while the flag leaf was appearing on oats.

Winter wheat crops mostly varied from second node (gs 32) to flag leaf peeping (gs 37) last week. Septoria levels had visibly increased, with active lesions on leaf four. T1, where applied onto a fully emerged leaf three, and part of leaf two, would be expected to give good protection. Delay the T2 until the flag leaf is fully emerged, say advisors.

Winter barley ranged from flag leaf fully out to headed out. All crops will be fully headed in the next week. Disease levels are rising, with two-row barleys showing higher levels of Rhynchosporium. Blotching is also evident in crops, most likely due to cold conditions and agro-chemical applications.

Effects of sprays in cold conditions can easily be confused with disease or trace element deficiency.

Winter oats was at gs 33 to 37. Disease levels continued low but the advice is to watch out for rising mildew levels.

In general, winter oats looks to have good potential this year; however some advisors have reported uneven crop growth from suspected nutrient deficiencies.

Winter oil seed rape ranged from mid-flowering to late flowering, with cold weather prolonging flowering.

A second sclerotinia fungicide is only recommended in high risk situations.

Beans ranged from four pair of true leaves to first flowers appearing. Pea and bean weevil notching reports continued. In warmer weather, beans can rapidly develop chocolate spot and possibly downy mildew, so prepare to treat preventively at the start of flowering, say advisors.

Rover 500 (chlorothalonil) has been recently cleared for application onto field beans for animal consumption only. Watch latest timings on graminicides, say advisors.

Spring rape crops were very slow and uneven to emerge, but should grow rapidly once temperatures rise.

Covered maize crops were just breaking through the plastic last week, while early drilled crops in the open were just emerging.

Drilling of kale had just begun last week.


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