DAERA Notes: Crops

Use pre-emergence herbicides to control problem weeds
Use pre-emergence herbicides to control problem weeds

WINTER CEREALS: Most winter cereals are due their second dose of nitrogen at early stem extension (growth stage 30-32), barley reaching this stage before wheat.

Aim for between 25 and 40 kg per hectare total of sulphur for all cereals. Lower than normal winter rainfall means less leachable nutrients, such as nitrogen and sulphur, have been washed out of the root zone and in many cases are more readily available to winter crops.

Inspect crops for recently emerged broad leaved weeds applying top-up herbicide as temperatures warm up. As with all pesticides adhere to product labels paying particular attention to latest application timings, sequences with other herbicides and approved tank mixes with other products. Testing tank mixes in a bucket ensures products are physically compatible before adding to the sprayer but does not indicate the crop safety of the mixture.

Disease control

In winter barley foliar diseases Mildew and Rhynchosporium are common. Where infection is severe keep fungicide rates high, particularly where T0 fungicide was not applied or T1 has still to be applied. Apply the follow up T2 fungicide around growth stage 39 when the flag leaf has fully emerged and the first few awns are appearing. This should be no later than four weeks after T1 timing. At both T1 and T2 timings best performance is achieved with a SDHI or prothioconazole in the product mix. Strobilurins and other azoles actives aren’t as strong but still offer useful protection in mixes where crops are clean or disease pressure is lower. With sensitivity shifts to other modes of action Chlorothalonil is now providing the mainstay of Ramularia control and should be reserved for the later spray timings.

By now some winter wheat will have received a T0 fungicide. Where this has not been applied the T1 will be critical to get on top of Septoria and should be applied around growth stage 32 when leaf three is emerging. For the T1 use robust rates of Triazole, for example Ignite or Proline mixed with a SDHI and multisite protectant to help slow the development of resistant strains.

Mildew is easily found in most cereals this year and, if present, add a specific mildewicide to the tank mix at the next fungicide timing. Many winter cereals, particularly barley are thick and pose a high lodging risk. If so early stem extension is the most effective timing to shorten straw so include PGR, for example Chlormequat and Moddus with T1 fungicides. For thick early sown winter barley a split application may be necessary, ideally at T0 and T1. However if the T0 timing has been missed products such as Terpal, Canopy or Cerone can be applied after T1. In all cases consult the product label for latest application stage.


As we move through April gradually increase seed rates up to 400 grains per square metre. Also plan to treat weeds in emerging crops as soon as possible. Using pre-emergence herbicides can help manage resistant broad leaved weeds such as chickweed and also target problem annual meadow grass.


Sprouting and chitting

Pre-sprouting systems (bag or tray) must provide adequate temperature, ventilation and light to control sprout growth and protect against frost. Seed planted now will be for the main crop. Ensure the pre-sprouting system encourages multiple sprouting to produce many tubers which can increase in size over a longer growing season.


Both crop diversification, the two and three crop rules, and Ecological Focus Area (EFA) equivalent to at least 5% of arable land remain the same as previous years. When completing your single application online you will be notified of your greening requirements as part of the process. Completing the application early allows time to make adjustments to crops areas or EFA if necessary to meet greening, which represents approximately 30% of your entitlement value.