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A Look at Cereals, Oilseed Rape & Maize Crops

From the 30th of September 2017 no crops are allowed to be sprayed with Isoproturon (IPU). This was the final ‘use up’ date for this product. As a result the implication for autumn weed control is now the main question being asked by growers.

The options for weed control with the banning of IPU

From the 30th of September 2017 no crops are allowed to be sprayed with Isoproturon (IPU). This was the final ‘use up’ date for this product. As a result the implication for autumn weed control is now the main question being asked by growers.

The main issue will be the control of annual meadow grass which is something the old IPU was very strong on even with late applications post emergence. Current products now available are in their own right very strong on meadow grass but will require crops to be sprayed at an earlier stage than may have been previously practiced, especially on winter barley. Products like Firebird, Vigon, Naceto, Flight, Bulldog, and Pontas will be best sprayed pre-emergence of the crop or once tramlines are visible. If it is not possible to spray this early, there will be other options like Tower and Defy+DFF which will give control of meadow grass up to 2/3 leaves of the grass from seedlings.

Once we know the main weed problems and growth stages of the crop and weeds we can choose the best product mix to suit most situations and any member of the Connolly’s RED MILLS agronomy team will be happy to provide such advice. I always advise growers to consult with a good agronomist to assist in best weed control options available.

Oilseed Rape monitoring

The first sown crops are now starting to take off and most at this stage are safe from any further attacks from slugs. However, any of the later sown crops that are only putting out true leaves now would still be vulnerable and need some closer attention. We are also currently monitoring crops for control of volunteers and grasses where they are a problem.

This is also an important month to watch out for Phoma and to a lesser extent light leaf spot infections and to treat once threshold levels are reached. Caramba or Folicur would be options at the 4 to 6 leaf stage to control disease and to give some added growth regulatory effect.

Maize harvesting – when is the time right

Forecasting the expected date of harvest is important for many maize growers due to associated benefits in planning the rotation, remaining compliant with regulations and spreading work load. In practice harvest is mainly determined by the variety, the season and the presence of plastic or not. It may come as a surprise that when to harvest is very often predetermined by decisions made at time of sowing.

Cutting prematurely will severely impact potential dry matter intake, particularly the availability of starch and energy. Poor feed intake, palatability and high acidity all result from maize ensiled before it reaches maturity. However, leaf diseases such as Eyespot will cause the crop to die back rapidly and in this scenario, early harvest may be the only option.

If the crop becomes too dry, feed intake and digestibility can be impaired while harvesting too late will risk frost damage to the grains, causing mould and spoilage once ensiled along with low palatability and poor clamp stability.

The ideal is to harvest the crop at 30-35% DM. The following 2 field checks are good indicators that the crop is at this stage; first check the cob is hard with none or practically little liquid in the grains when squeezed. Secondly, check the level of water in the stalks by cutting about a foot from the ground and it there is too much water being easily squeezed out then the crop should be left for another while.

It is advised to consult with your local agronomist to assess the maturity of your maize crop. For more information or assistance, contact the RED MILLS agronomy team.

  • Tags:
  • Agri
  • cereals
  • maize
  • oilseed rape