With narrow spray windows and marginal conditions already hampering progress for some growers this season, the recent temperature fluctuations could make T2 sprays all the more challenging to get right this year.
For one farm manager in Norfolk, managing 1100ha across several sites is a logistical challenge itself, and with the cold snap during late April, T1 spray timings where even more of a challenge to get right.
“We’re not just managing cereal crops but root veg and fodder crops too, which all have to be managed accordingly,” says Jim Scarratt, winner of Syngenta’s competition to Brazil earlier this year as part of the UK launch of ELATUSTM ERA.
“With temperatures getting down to -2oc overnight towards the end of April, we weren’t able to get on fields until about 10am, and then finished up around 3pm, before the temperatures dropped away again. As well as this, we’ve also had a lot of wind to deal with, which also delays us getting on.”
Mr Scarratt explains that T0 and T1’s have been applied and T2’s are planned for the end of this week if the cold weather and rain forecast for this week don’t play havoc with intended plans.
“It’s always better to go earlier than later when it comes to sprays times, and this year we have perhaps gone slightly earlier than we have in the past.
“Disease pressures in the wheat has been relatively normal for us. We were seeing some signs of rust in early crops but the T1 sprays have dried it up, and we aren’t seeing high levels of Septoria at the moment. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if Septoria is at the bottom of the leaves waiting to rear its head if conditions change.
“Hence why we are trying our best to stay on top of things and spraying slightly ahead to ensure we stay in a protective rather than curative situation,” says Mr Scarratt.
“T2 is always a key timing for us, so we will have to ensure we manage spray timings wisely if spray windows are to remain narrow.”