Septoria is very visible in most winter wheat crops at the present time. But disease levels remain relatively low, according to Teagasc.

This is particularly the case in crops where leaf three and flag leaf fungicide applications were applied on time.

Yellow rust has not been a problem this year except in the few crops of Bennington that are still being grown.

The final head spray has two purposes – it tops up control of disease on the important flag leaf and, it also gives some protection against fusarium and other ear diseases.

This is especially so if the weather is broken during flowering. Growers should time the final fungicide application at early flowering, which is normally three to three and a half weeks after the flag leaf spray.

Disease control

Meanwhile, growers should apply the growth regulator Chlormequat Chloride (CCC) between Growth Stages (GS) 30 and 31 for maximum effect.

The application rate is dependent on risk of lodging, but for CCC will generally be around 1L/ha.

Growers should check product labels for the total dose of CCC that is recommended.

Alternatively, they should consider Medax Max or Moddus to GS32 or Terpal at GS37-39.

It is important to avoid mepiquat products (Terpal) where the straw is destined for the mushroom industry.

Crops have received their first fungicide and the focus now is on the flag leaf application. Mildew tends to be the biggest threat in spring wheat, while septoria is usually less of an issue than in winter wheat.

Growers should use a folpet (Arizona) at 1.25-1.5L/ha plus a mildewcide plus an azole/SDHI mix, e.g., Ascra Expro (70- 80% rate) at flag leaf fully emerged,.

This can be followed by an azole mix at the final timing, e.g., Prosaro/Jade. A reduced rate of the azole/SDHI mixes and mildewicides should help to keep costs down.

Cost of disease control

Growers should target a total spend at approximately €141 plus VAT/ha on disease control measures.

Of course, this will be very weather dependent. The prospect is for a combination of showers and windy conditions over the next few days. This may hamper spraying opportunities for tillage farmers.

There is strong evidence from across the country that all wheat crops are growing well at the present time.

In the event of any form of fodder shortage later this year, demand for straw is likely to remain strong.

The continuing availability of the Straw Incorporation Measure should further strengthen this trend.