No farmer wants to think back to the washout year that was 2012.
But it lives long in the memory and I know many businesses learnt more about their farm in that cropping season that they would in a straight-forward year.
The knock-on effect of 2012’s torrential rain was a huge shift to spring cropping in 2013, and this year is shaping up to be similar.
Some predict over one million hectares of spring barley will be drilled in the coming weeks – about 100,000ha more than we saw go in the ground in 2013.
So what does that mean for crop care?
Compressed periods of fieldwork are inevitable. As soon as the weather – or, more accurately, the land – allows machines to travel, it will be action stations.
Attention to detail remains paramount and, in terms of weed control, that means hitting the right weeds early to ensure the yield potential of any spring crop can be realised.
Farmers that have abandoned drilling their remaining winter cereal crops and are switching to spring barley will need to pay close attention to broadleaved weed control.
If spring barley isn’t normally part of your rotation, or you haven’t grown it for a while, it’s important to remember that broadleaf weed species are more likely to pose a threat to yield at harvest than grassweeds.
Shallow disc cultivation before drilling could transplant large overwintered weed plants into crop rows, which will readily re-establish. These larger weeds will exist alongside smaller germinating weeds, requiring higher rates to achieve good levels of control.
Fluctuating temperatures in early spring means sulfonylurea chemistry may struggle to achieve good control of some weed species, especially larger poppies.
Zypar, which contains Arylex Active, provides good control of poppy – including ALS-resistant populations – as well as cleavers, cranesbill, chickweed, mayweed, fat hen, fumitory and charlock, even at low or fluctuation temperatures.
The other advantage of using the Arylex chemistry is the wide range of tested tank-mix compatibilities, essential in a season where complicated tank mixes will be the norm.