20 July 2023, AU: Crops have grown significantly in the last fortnight on the back of some longer sunny days and plentiful soil moisture.
Early sown crops capitalised on soil warmth and moisture at seeding, with some fantastic looking crops around the region. Later sown crops have been a bit slow to start but are catching up on the back of some early nutrition and better growing conditions of late.
Post-emergent spraying has been challenging, with good spray days few and far between. Wet weather, wind, frosts, and paddock trafficability can make it a logistical nightmare this time of year with farmers simultaneously trying to complete stock work, spreading, rolling, and carting grain. Thankfully, more favourable weather last week allowed many to catch up and get back on track. Most growers have finished their first round of grass sprays in legumes and canola, now on broadleaf and grass sprays in wheat and barley, whilst others have started round two.
Crop nutrition has been a key theme over the last two months, with many completing their early top dressing. Proactive growers secured supply early while others held off due to seasonal uncertainty and/or waiting to buy at the bottom of the market. On the back of the unexpected above average rainfall for June, there was a mad rush to secure fertiliser tonnages. However, due to high demand and limited availability, supply quickly ran short, and orders backlogged. Consequently, some growers will fall short of their fertiliser requirements, and their crops will lack nutrition as a result.
Disease pressure is increasing as a result of the conducive weather of late and the high disease load carry over from last season. Early infection of Ascochyta, botrytis grey mould and sclerotinia white mould has been found in vetch and lentils. We have also seen powdery mildew, Septoria and early stripe rust in wheat, as well as typical levels of net blotch in barley. Crops will continue to be monitored as the extent and severity of these diseases will be determined by the weather over the next few weeks.
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