The dry conditions in the east are starting to stress crops. A fortnight ago rapid growth in the spring crops despite late drilling meant they were generally looking well but another fortnight of dry conditions is starting to tell and many spring crops are noticeably short.
Rain is due by the weekend but let’s hope that once on we don’t get struck in a prolonged wet spell. Last year’s record dry spring was amply averaged out by the wet summer and difficult harvest. Warmth and humid conditions have favored mildew and we’ve also had some reports of net blotch which also likes the warmth. If it stays warm but turns wet then the risk of head diseases is obviously higher so we cover that in this week’s report.
The warm weather is also ramping up pest activity, with aphids flying into crops and increasing the risk of virus transmission in seed potatoes in particular. Field vegetable crops are also at the mercy of cabbage root fly, carroit fly and caterpillars, as diamondback moths and other caterpillar pests are being caught in our monitored crops. If it remains dry then the risk of cutworm damage in crops increases.