Wet and windy weather is having an impact on crops

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The extremely wet and windy weather over the last couple of weeks has delayed fertiliser and spray applications. Crops have begun looking for nitrogen and as daylight hours are longer it is essential to apply fertiliser onto crops as soon as ground conditions allow.

The amounts of P&K at the target index 2 must be maintained and it is important to take into consideration the offtake in yield of grain when planning fertiliser applications. As most of our straw is removed an NPK fertiliser should be applied in accordance with the RB209 taking into consideration the use of organic manures.

Cereals are becoming more responsive to sulphur as atmospheric deposition of sulphur declines. Where deficiency has been recognised or is expected 25-50kgSO3/ha as a sulphate should be applied in early spring before the start of stem extension. FASTMIX magnesium plus contains the following available nutrients - magnesium, sulphur, zinc and manganese. This product is rapidly absorbed by the plant quickly correcting deficiencies.

FASTMIX has been specially developed to meet the micronutrient demand of cereals and other leafy crops with a high manganese demand in an ideal combination with magnesium and sulphur. It is a cost efficient nutrient application technique for Mg, S, Mn and Zn without additional costs, if combined with the regular crop protection program. It also helps activate nitrogen into the plant to enhance seed development and transference of sugars throughout the plant, Sulphur is one of 17 elements essential for crop growth.

Although sulphur is considered a secondary nutrient it is often referred to as the fourth major nutrient ranking just below NPK. Sulphur deficiency can often be mistaken as nitrogen deficiency. The pale yellow symptoms of sulphur deficiency often appear on the younger or uppermost leaves whilst nitrogen deficiency initially appears on the older leaves.

Crops lacking sulphur appear stunted, spindly and thin stemmed and maturity in cereal grains is delayed. When deficient, Mg is transferred in the plant from older to new tissue. As a result, deficiency symptoms occur first in older leaves. Tissue between the veins becomes light green to whitish in colour. In cereals this leads to striping between veins that may be intermittent rather than continuous. With severe deficiencies, purple colouration may follow.

I have observed quite a lot of mildew especially on winter barley crops across the province over the last couple of weeks. I am advising a T0 fungicide treatment as rhynchosporium levels have also become quite high. It is also important to observe the winter wheat varieties when considering a T0 bearing in mind the low resistance some varieties have to mildew.