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With crops romping ahead don’t get caught out

What a difference a week makes. A recent opportunity to view the same paddocks in mid-Canterbury a week apart showed all too clearly just how fast crops are growing.

Barley crops that were at GS32 one week had their flag leaf poking out (GS36) the next. And it isn’t just barley that is developing quickly; towards the end of last week some wheat crops were already at GS36, even GS37.

Crops that looked behind earlier this month have caught up but we shouldn’t be surprised really. Crops are driven by internal clocks, with a major factor being temperature and they usually catch up, even when the spring has been cold or they were planted a little late.

The important thing now is to apply an effective fungicide to both barley and wheat to ensure you don't get caught out. It is critical to protect the important flag leaf by applying Aviator Xpro from around 75% - 100% flag leaf emergence to ensure disease isn’t able to disrupt grain fill.

For wheat, levels of Septoria leaf blotch are low this year but look carefully and it is possible to find sporulating lesions on the lower leaves. In Bayer trials even when disease levels are low the yield response from applying Aviator Xpro at 1 L/ha has been impressive. In low disease situations last year Aviator Xpro was able to deliver a yield increase of 1.7 t/ha. Bayer recommends you apply Aviator Xpro at 1 L/ha to your wheat crops, once they reach GS37-39, over the next few weeks.

Now turning to barley crops, the main target at this time is Ramularia leaf spot. This serious disease can rapidly rob your crops of green leaf if not treated. Ramularia grows unseen within the plant so it is best to assume all crops are at risk. Traditionally the advice has been to apply a fungicide at toothbrush stage but trials carried out by Bayer within New Zealand have conclusively shown that better control is achieved if a fungicide is applied at flag leaf emergence.This is why Bayer is recommending you apply Aviator Xpro at 1 L/ha to your barley crops, once they reach GS37-39, over the next 2 weeks.

As well as superb disease control, the fungicide components of Aviator Xpro deliver powerful plant health benefits. Prothioconazole and bixafen work together to visibly enhance the plant’s physiology, resulting in impressive crop greening.

Prothioconazole is celebrating 10 years in New Zealand and over this period the range of Bayer fungicides based on prothioconazole has helped many farmers achieve impressive yields. Please talk to your crop agronomist to find out more.