Recent weather has favoured NI farmers

Crop Crack logo
Crop Crack logo

I think it would be fair to say conditions over the last week has made farming a much more pleasant occupation.

The warmer temperatures have encouraged high populations of aphid in all crops but it is important to note that unless absolutely necessary an insecticide should not be applied as bees are very active at present.

The main period of egg laying by the first generation of carrot fly is now over. Second generation flies will appear from early August and foliar insecticide sprays targeting the adult will be needed at that time.


The risk of blight remains high with great variations in particular areas due to localised showers. To try and keep crops free from blight where pressure is severe requires short intervals appropriate for high risk and also the use of fungicide products with curative activity. Fungicides with good rainfastness will be very beneficial given the current showery conditions, especially because it’s been difficult to accurately predict the timing and location of showers.

Due to the considerable amount of new growth being produced at present, it is essential the product being used is fully systemic to properly protect the new leaves being put on between applications. Later planted crops are at higher risk as they produce more new growth between applications than earlier planted crops, at a time when the level of inoculum in the air is progressively increasing. Of the fully systemic fungicides, only those based on propamocarb appear to effectively control the A2-13 genotype. INFINITO containing propamocarb and fluopicolide controls all strains of blight, with no resistant genotypes found to date. Although a translaminar product, Syngenta have shown that REVUS also gives very good protection of new growth, and offers an alternative mode of activity to propamocarb

As the crop canopy closes across the drills, the crop starts to initiate tubers. From this point on, these daughter tubers are vulnerable to infection, so fungicide selection must also consider introducing tuber blight control, spread by zoospores being washed off any infected leaves or stems. During the main canopy development phase the rate of new growth is extremely rapid. This places a huge uptake demand on the uptake of all nutrients, and in conditions of such rapid growth any nutrient that is limited in availability will suppress haulm growth, and as tuber initiation begins, tell the plant to form fewer tubers also.

Manganese, sulphur and magnesium are three of the potentially most limiting trace elements, and timely application of these nutrients in an immediately available foliar formulation will offset this yield limiting effect.

Make sure nozzle type used is correct to ensure sprayer pressure, droplet size and water volume applied are as per the label; these factors are as important as product choice in terms of achieving good coverage of the foliage. Inspect and calibrate nozzles regularly to maintain performance. Trials have shown that fitting angled nozzles alternating to face forwards and backwards along the boom gives better coverage of the plant and significantly reduces drift.

Propionic Acid

Propionic acid has an energy value of 1.5 times that of barley so as well as preserving the grain it also adds to its energy value. With Propionic treatment, harvesting can take place when there is still surface dampness on the grain, dew or rain. Harvesting can start earlier in the morning or after rain and continue later at night, giving a quicker more flexible harvest, which leaves extra time for autumn cultivations. By harvesting before grain is fully ‘ripe’ a higher yield is also obtained, reduced shedding losses may save 200kg per hectare.

Natural vitamin E levels in moist grain, whether treated or not, are destroyed during storage. When moist grain forms a major part of the diet a mineral/vitamin supplement high in vitamin E should be used.

Treated grain can be stored simply on a dry floor. It should not be stored with untreated grain. Check MC and auger rate regularly.