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Shropshire Innovation Centre Update 19th June 2020

Innovation Centres


The Shropshire Innovation Centre has benefitted from the recent rainfall with 61 mm recorded at the site in the last week which has really freshened things up. The winter barley at the site has started to senesce; especially on the lighter parts of the field, and the rain came a little too late to keep the growth going following the hot, dry spell we had previously. That being said, crops have thickened out and look relatively good with nice big ears that are continuing to fill out, despite the difficult season.

There has been very little in the way of disease in the winter barley varieties and disease plots this year with only physiological leaf spotting visible in places, although earlier fungicide applications did manage to keep the brown rust at bay in susceptible varieties.

The winter wheat plots have also had a difficult season and this is very evident in the height of the crop which is struggling to reach 50 cm in places. The main disease so far on the site has been yellow rust which is still active on untreated susceptible varieties such as Dunston and Skyfall. Where an appropriate fungicide has been applied at the typical fungicide timings through the spring, the yellow rust has been controlled well, from work carried out at the site it is much better to start yellow rust control at first signs of disease than wait to control disease curatively; which will reduce green leaf area of the crop where the infection had taken place.

Zymoseptoria infection moving up on leaf 4 following recent rainfall

We also have a number of disease trials set up at the site; mainly focused around Zymoseptoria tritici control, where the disease is now starting to move up the canopy from existing infection on lower leaves by rainsplash following recent showers. This new infection will be evident in a few days’ time where plots have been left unprotected or fungicide programmes have been inadequate, following the latent period of the disease where infection has taken place, but no disease symptoms are yet visible.

We have also been looking at seedcare options in winter and spring barley with newly approved Vibrance Duo in both crops. We have seen good activity from Vibrance Duo in both crops on loose smut; which is a difficult disease to control due to the infection being within the seed embryo, but best control was coming from a co-application with ipconazole to boost activity on this disease in particular.

Loose smut infected ear in plot where no seed treatment was applied

We have a small trial site a few miles away looking at best advice for ryegrass control which is a problem weed in the area, and this has given us some nice results. Crop choice, seed rates and integrated use of pre- and post-emergence herbicides have all been looked at to provide the best options for controlling this weed. Hybrid barley has been seen to suppress ryegrass in much the same way as black-grass and this is more evident at higher seed rates up to 250 seed/m2.

Pre-emergence herbicides are also an important component of control especially where grass weeds have known resistance to contact products. Following the black-grass story, the best approach is to mix modes of action and increase rates of prosulfocarb to give best control; which has shown the best solo activity on ryegrass and annual meadow grass at this site. It is important that all control measures are implemented to reduce reliance on contact herbicides, such as Axial Pro, which have been giving really good levels of control at appropriate rates, where cultural and pre-emergence control measures have been used prior to application.

Ryegrass head above crop untreated

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