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Crop watch advice as we enter spring on back of mild winter

Mild weather for the past few months has left fields of crops looking lush. This has inevitably turned farmers’ thoughts to fertiliser strategies and disease control, as well as growth regulation.

The Farmers Weekly Crop Watch team has the following advice for growers.

‘While some big crops have been decimated by pigeons, this shouldn’t be a problem as they will have got rid of the damaged diseased leaves and the crops should recover and grow well.

‘Cereal crops have come through winter well and there are some very forward crops, however, mildew and net blotch is a problem as a result. Barley crops will definitely benefit from a dose of nitrogen and manganese. Septoria is present in many wheat crops although generally the crops are looking good.’

When it comes to the application of nitrogen, Crop Watch advisors have this to say:

‘The fertiliser applications for each crop will definitely have a lot of thought put into them considering many factors.

The main one is the availability of nitrogen, as some growers don’t have enough to cover all their cropping.

I would really encourage everybody to get up to date with their soil sampling and do soil mineral nitrogen testing to help build a crop nutrient plan.

With fertiliser prices so high and many farms in the South West having slurry or farmyard manure available, make sure these are tested as well to give an accurate analysis.

And when applying any organic manure, ensure you have an accurate record of how much was spread and where. If you don’t, you are just wasting a valuable asset.

Spring drilling has started on the lighter, drier ground and the seed-beds are very good; the heavier, wetter land is a little away from being ready yet.’

There is also a word of warning regarding growth regulation. With wheat prices expected to stay high, a flattened crop could prove costly, so it is worth investing in growth regulation.

Pic credit: Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash