“Spring 2016 will certainly be different to recent years”, acknowledges Neil Waddingham, Market Manager – Arable Crops for Bayer, but will it necessitate significant change to fungicide programmes? According to Waddingham and the arable team at Bayer, “Probably not”.

While winter is far from over, a number of different factors have already ensured that disease control decisions this spring will be different from other years for many farmers.

Last autumn many farmers looked for alternative crops to plant in response to depressed cereal prices. The result was a wheat area similar to previous years but with a significantly reduced barley area (however strong signs are emerging that spring barley will fill some of the lost area).

On top of this, much of the crop that was planted went in later than normal. The autumn was very dry and then winter temperatures were unseasonably warm. The result is that these spring crops are lush and forward but with moderate disease levels.