Despite the showers in the past day or so soils across the country have substantial soil moisture deficits (up to 40mm - see more on met.ie). This is taking its toll on light soil farms with some reports of poor establishment and growth on sandy banks on these farms.
The current conditions of dry soils and cool weather puts plants under stress. Applying PPP's will apply further stress onto the crop which can lead to; mottling on the leaf, scorching of leaves, reduced efficacy of the PPP especially herbicides and growth regulators, delayed growth in the plant, stunted growth in the plant etc. The same effect can often happen where there is a large swing in day and night time temperatures ( There are a number of action which should be considered before applying PPP' to stressed crops in these situations:
Most crops are either approaching leaf 3 emerged or are already have leaf 3 fully emerged, so the first fungicide is now due. Some crops that were sprayed in the last few weeks are showing significant signs of scorch from the frosty and dry weather, this should serve as a reminder to avoid complicated tank mixes in these weather conditions.
Dry spring conditions, large temperature fluctuations and frost have caused stress spotting symptoms on many crops of winter barley. These stress symptoms are exacerbated when growth regulators and fungicides have been sprayed on to the crop. The condition of the crop will influence fungicide application and whether a final PGR is applied or not.
As a result of these stress symptoms there is a wide range in growth stages in winter barley. Later sown crops in exposed sites at at early stem extension while early developing varieties like Joyau in favourable sites are at awn emergence.
Growth has continued int he cold dry weather although not at the normal face pace which would be expected at this time of year. Crops are at GS31 to GS33 with the majority at the critical second node stage.
Crops are flowering at the moment and are withstanding the dry cold weather very well in most cases. The dry weather will help to reduce the risk of sclerotinia in crops.
As with all spring crops growth has been steady but slow. Soil moisture deficits are high in many areas and rain will be welcome. Crops are from 1-2 leaf stage to early tillering. Disease levels are low.
All spring barley is planted and emergence has been good in most areas. Crops in lighter soils are starting to struggle due to lack of moisture and trace element deficiencies are evident. Earlier sown crops are at early tillering, weed control and final nitrogen are the priority. As with all crops caution is advised in applying plant protection products in cold conditions and any nutrient deficiencies should be corrected first.
Crop emergence is good this year with most crops achieving target plant numbers. Monitoring for bean weevil will be the priority in the next two weeks before grass weed and disease control.
Most of this years maize under plastic and fodder beet is planted as a result of the recent dry spell. The remaining maize to be planted is in the open. It appears that there is an increase in maize planted in the open this year, mainly in the south.
Most of the maincrop has been planted at this stage with many growers completely finished at this stage. Some of the early April planted crop will soon start to emerge and so will require an application of herbicides. Early crops have been affected with the recent frosts in April especially under fleece on exposed sites.
Clovermax, the clover safe 2,4-DB / MCPA combination has received emergency use approval for a 120 day period form May 14th.
There is no change for farmers that have Clovermax (or other 2,4-DB products) in stock, they have until October 31st to use up.
For further information on grassland weed control click here