Crop Updates (23 May 2024): Fresh outbreaks of yellow rust in wheat

Crop Updates

Our regular round up of the issues affecting crops around Scotland, summarises how crops are developing and what weather and other issues are affecting them.  The update provides information on the progress with key field work activities as well as news on the pest, weed and disease problems being noted in crops.  The health issues being seen in crops are a key part of the topical update and lets growers and agronomists adjust management practices appropriately.


23 May 2024


General Comments

Yellow rust has finally made its appearance in coastal areas of Fife and is also evident on varieties like Frenzy at our trial site in East Lothian. Mildew is showing in weaker varieties of winter barley.  By and large T1 sprays in winter cereals have held disease well.  It was beginning to climb in our last round up two weeks ago but is now mainly confined to lower leaves again.  Spring barley reports vary.  Many of the first crops in have come through well where there has been enough soil moisture, and many are now ahead of where we were a year ago, when it turned very dry and emergence was slow.  Good spring barley crops around Borders, Perth and Fife are tillering and reaching the start of stem extension, however in drier areas of the North East and Black Isle there are some patchy, thin crops and some negative impacts from rolling in earlier wet conditions.


Regional Comments  


What a difference a couple of weeks of dry weather can make.  We’ve had virtually no rain and lots of sunshine since the last report which has enabled all spring barley and the last of the arable silages to be sown.  Plentiful rising moisture from the wick effect has allowed crops to germinate quickly and catch up with where they should be.  The rain forecast for later this week will be largely welcome, particulary for newly sown grass mixtures.  Lots of docks in grassland have been sprayed in the last fortnight and row crops will be fitted soon to tackle the barley.



An excellent spell of weather through the period with some decent temperatures.  Later sown spring crop is really catching the early sown areas.  Some mentioning the need for rain but very quietly!  Winter crops are now motoring through the growth stages.  Potato planting in the area is well through and conditions have been very favourable.  Really good grass growth through the period has seen the bulk of cattle now out on grass.  Big difference in hay and silage fields which have been shut off.



After a good spell of dry weather this past fortnight, finally we can say that all, or the vast majority, of the spring crop has been sown.  Thankful, as we are, for this dry period, we now need some rain which is forecast.  The spring barley in the ground is ranging from one true leaf up to mid tillering and is pretty clean although some rhynchosporium can be found.  Winter barley crops are looking well having recovered and grown away from earlier rhyncho infection and are either approaching or at flowering stage.  Winter wheat crops are a bit behind, generally at flag leaf stage, but are fairly clean overall with low levels of septoria.  Winter oilseed rape crops are still in full flower with early signs of pod formation.  Potato and carrot planting operations continue, and some crops of forage rye have been cut for AD plants.



The past week has seen very good growing conditions in the Inverness area.  Warm temperatures with occasional rain has seen grass and crops jumping forward.  Spring barley crops are at a wide range of stages following the protracted sowing.  The earliest crops are entering stem elongation and the latest sown have not yet tillered.  Little to no disease seen at this stage.  Some Winter barley crops are flowering, and mildew is present.  Winter wheat is around GS 41 and looking clean. OSR crops are clean and now in the pod development stages. Grass crops in the area have also moved on significantly, and potato planting is in full swing now that fields are dry enough.



The weather has been very pleasant during the last couple of weeks, but at time of writing this column it feels as though it is the calm before the storm, as heavy rain appears to be forecast.  Let’s hope it’s not too torrential, as a wee shower (or two) would now be beneficial to many spring sown crops (if nothing else but to wash in the top dressing of fertiliser!).  Winter Barley is now beginning to flower and the flag leaf in winter wheat is also beginning to emerge, and generally due to the warm dry spell of weather, disease levels appear to be lower than originally feared.  Tattie growers are now getting potatoes planted and enjoying the fine weather, as soil conditions have improved greatly over the last couple of weeks.  Early 1st cuts of silage have also reportedly been taken now.



The Buchan countryside has completely transformed over the past fortnight, going from a mostly dark, damp barren state to a myriad of greens, punctuated by bright yellows.  Spring crops are racing through their growth stages with weed sprays and trace elements starting to be applied.  Most spring barley crops have also emerged fairly evenly and are looking well.  Winter barleys are mostly approaching awns peeping and reaching the “shut the gate” stage in terms of sprays with rhyncho being a bigger issue than normal this year.  Winter wheats are having their T2s applied with some Septoria present.  Crop sprayers are also busy in oilseed rape fields as crops receive their mid flower spray.  Despite the slow start, things are not much later than last year.  Grain prices continue to go the right way (for sellers at least) and with the sun shining there is much more optimism.  Potato growers are still racing to finish planting with forage crops and grass re-seeds also being sown.  Livestock are now out in the fields and thriving and the first cuts of silage are fast approaching with the last few weeks seeing lots of grass growth.



Winter barley is now in full head and looking well.  Ryncho on the lower leaves can be found but T1's seem to have done a good job in controlling it so far.  Winter wheat is at flag leaf emerging and T2 will be on next week.  Septoria can be found in crops but T1 have done a good job.  Crops are variable in the region and there are a few have been ripped up in favour of spring barley.  Winter oilseed rape is in full flower and probably is the best of the winter crops in the area.  Spring barley is growing quickly.

Some of the later sown crops are in need of some rain and emergence in these crops is a little patchy.  There seems to be a good flush of weeds and weed control and first fungicide will be going on in the next week on the earlier crops. Potato planting is progressing well helped with the settled period of weather.  Grass is growing quickly, and first cuts of silage are started.



Crops are now motoring through the growth stages with oilseed rape now mostly into pod set, winter barleys at ears emerged and winter wheats at flag leaf emergence with early disease pressure having been held down to the lower leaves by the T1 fungicides.  Spring barley crops have grown rapidly since being put in the ground and are now largely beginning to tiller and receiving herbicides, T1 fungicides plus trace elements   This most recent rain will be welcomed by most as long as it does not all come in a short space of time.



Apart from a few potato fields which have yet to be planted, most are beginning to catch up on the backlog of work which had built up due to the late spring.  Spring crops have been planted mostly in good order and have grown away rapidly in warm and moist seedbeds.  Nitrogen applications are largely complete,and spraying has been kept up to date during the recent settled period but could be more challenging over the next week or two looking at the forecast. Winter barley has ears emerged and is receiving T2 fungicides before closing the gate until harvest, winter wheat is approaching the main T2 flag leaf timing and oilseed rape has received the flower sprays and are now into pod set.



Spring cereals seem to be all sown and emerging rapidly.  Spring crops seem to be tillering well and moving on towards T1 timing with weeds developing rapidly too.  The T1 tank mix will probably also include weed control as lack of time to do a split application in most cases. Winter crops that were not taken out and replaced with spring, are looking well.   Where spray timings have been off diseases such as yellow rust, septoria and rhynchosporium can be easily found.  Winter barley T2 applications have been applied and look to be controlling diseases. Winter wheat flag leaf sprays are to be applied over the next 7 days and where T1 was applied at the correct time look to be a protection spray rather than a curative.  Oilseed rapes are now starting to see petal fall with only the most pigeon damaged areas just starting to flower, most have been treated with a split flowering spray to ensure against sclerotinia infection.  Irrigators have started to be laid out in vegetable fields that are drying out under sheets, though none have yet been seen in action, there is rain forecast over the next two days so this might just be a saving.



The winter cereals and OSR crops have motored on since the last update jumping through the growth stages.  WW’s still booting and WB’s all ears emerged and going though anthesis. Whereas spring sown barley and oats are quietly tillering out.  Winter beans are looking particularly good throughout the region, very clean and healthy-looking crops.  Many dairies have taken their first cut of silage with good yields awaiting to see about quality from the analysis.  There have been reasonable temperatures in the last two weeks which alongside plenty of soil moisture has made very conducive conditions for growth. Reporting on the disease front in the denser spring barley crops there is a touch of Ryncho and some marks of septoria in the wheat which has been treated but generally very clean.



The settled warm and dry spell of the last 10 days has seen spring barleys grow away quickly and tillering freely especially given the ample moisture reserves in the soil.  The forecasted rain for the 22/23rd May will nonetheless be welcome to keep these crops moving forward.  Broad leaved weeds have been slower to emerge in these spring crops and herbicide applications will likely coincide with T1 sprays.  Wild oat populations are already showing themselves with earliest plants now at the 1-2 leaf stage and treatment date will very much depend on expectations for further, later germinating, plants.  In wheats, isolated outbreaks of yellow rust have occurred, notably in Extase, but, this aside, disease pressure remains low as the dry weather hasn’t been conducive to septoria spreading up the plant.  Earliest wheats have flag leaf fully emerged on the main stem with partial emergence on tillers.  T2’s on these, where not already applied, will be applied before May closes out. Potato planting continues in earnest and in isolated cases on ground where poor winter wheat stands were deemed uneconomic to persevere with.



14mm of rain in the previous 2 weeks, has been enough to keep crops moving through the growth stages.  Winter wheat is at Growth stage 39, with T2 sprays either applied or set to be applied in the next week.  Upper leaves appear to be clean.  Forward crops of Winter barley are at start of flowering.  Rhynchosporium can be found on some crops.  Spring barley, although going into the ground late, appears to be tillering well.  There has been a good flush of broadleaved weeds in some fields.  In other fields weeds have been slower to emerge.



The milder, drier weather continues to grace Lanarkshire at the moment, with a threat of the weather breaking towards the end of this week, which is putting a bit of pressure on those hoping to take their first cut.  Grass growth and crops have shot up in recent weeks.  There have been numerous dairy farms that have taken their first cut of silage, and in terms of cropping OSR is flowering across the district, winter crops are beginning to head and spring crops are well into the leaf development stages of growth.  



The weather has been warm and humid over the past few weeks which is resulted in some excellent growing conditions.  Winter barley crops are looking good, they are at GS65 (mid flowering) and are relatively clean of disease with there only being a little rhynchosporium present in some crops.  Spring barley is generally at the mid/late tillering growth stage.  Some earlier drilled crops are patchy in places where rolling in damper condition has taken place.  On the whole most SB crops are looking well across the region.  T1 applications will start being applied in the next week or two.  Winter wheat flag leafs are emerging and T2 applications are starting to be applied.  Grass growth has been motoring over the past three weeks with many dairy farms having now taken their first cuts which for many has been a week earlier than usual due to the excellent growth we have been having.



The last month could be best described as frantic.  The prolonged wet weather caused a backlog with spring field cultivations, slurry spreading, drilling and fertiliser applications but things finally appear to more on a more even keel.  1st cut silages have gone ahead with minimal delays and appear to be yielding quite well.  Spring crops have germinated well despite being later sown and winter crops are looking well.  There has been a significant increase in the amount of maize sown, to improve homegrown forage production for dairy herds.  Attention now turns to getting forage crops and grass reseeds sown.


Posted by SAC Consulting on 23/05/2024

Tags: Agriculture, SAC Consulting
Categories: Consulting and Commercial