Really is amazing how these weather patterns can change – the start of the season was remarkably dry, and daytime humidity readings of 15-20% kept evaporation rates high. When our first rain on June 14th happened, followed up with another rain event the following weekend, the pattern shifted. Now we are seeing rain events every couple of days. Some areas of our land have been seeing higher amounts, other areas just a few millimeters, but coupled with the high humidity, this is almost a perfect environment for disease to proliferate. The rain events don’t need to be high – it is the droplet landing on the leaves and splashing that causes the spores to be spread. The humidity allows the disease to progress – and worsen.
All the cereals have now been sprayed with fungicide. The main target for barley and wheat is for fusarium head blight. Secondary is to protect the flag leaf from other diseases. The main target for oats is the flag leaf – keeping it clean – which helps to give a plump, heavy kernel. We only sprayed a small portion of our canola. We did a leaf petal test which detects levels of spore activity – and there was only 12% infection. They recommend spraying when you have levels over 50% otherwise it is usually not economical. With the continued moisture almost daily, there is a chance the infection came later and could still have a dramatic effect, but we are beyond the window for fungicide application now.
Weather looks to continue cool and wet the remainder of this week, with warmer temperatures forecast for next week. We will need a couple weeks of warm to hot weather to push this crop along – 25-28C would be perfect – otherwise could face maturity issues later this season.