It’s a very busy time in fields at the minute. Farmers would usually have the gates closed on a lot of crops by now, but given the late season there is a lot of work to be done.

The Irish Farmers Journal carried out a survey with agronomists across the country on Monday of this week, 17 June.

Disease levels were reported to be low or moderate on most crops, virus levels are high and final fungicides are still being applied to winter wheat and only starting in many areas on spring barley.

Spring barley

Disease levels in spring barley were reported to be low to moderate with rhynchosporium and net blotch present in crops. Many agronomists commented that disease is variety dependent with net blotch in Planet, but under control.

Disease levels were also reported to be lower where the T1 spray was well timed. Ramularia was reported in the northeast where awns are emerging.

There is a big variation in crop growth stages. Some crops are only at GS30, while others are as far on as GS69. Those advanced crops at GS69 received their final fungicide two weeks ago.

Most crops will receive their final spray this week or next week. Crops were described as very lush and heavy by some. Plant growth regulator was missed on some crops due to cold weather, so some crops have yet to strengthen up.

Winter wheat

Winter wheat is either flowering or has gone passed flowering. However, some crops in the northeast are still at GS45-50 and so are starting to heading out.

Septoria and yellow rust were reported. Septoria was unsurprisingly present in most crops.

While yellow rust looked to be mainly confined to the east of the county, mildew was reported in crops in Co Carlow.

Septoria pressure was reported to be high in counties Cork, Kilkenny and Tipperary, but final sprays have been applied in these crops and the gate is now closed.

Winter wheat flowering on 11 June at the Goldcrop crop variety trials open days on the farm of John Dunne, Shanagarry, Co Cork. \ Donal O'Leary

Disease levels were also reported to be high in Co Carlow, while most other areas reported moderate disease levels.

Most crops around the midlands received the final spray last week. In the east and northeast, T3s continue to be applied, particularly in the northeast.

There were reports of variations in disease levels with sowing date and disease control programmes, but overall the higher disease pressure was put down to the weather of the season, with plenty of rain to allow disease to flourish.

BYDV is very evident in many winter wheat crops over the last few weeks. Some reported that levels were lower where an autumn insecticide was applied, but it was difficult for many to apply insecticide this season in poor weather.

Spring oats

Spring oats varied from GS32 to GS59. Disease levels were reported to be low in most cases, with moderate levels reported in the northeast and southeast of the country.

In some crops no disease was reported, while just mildew was evident in some crops in counties Kilkenny and Wexford. However, some level of mildew and crown rust was reported in most crops.

One agronomist in Co Wexford commented that spring oats are his pick of the crops at the minute.

In Tipperary, there was a comment that spring oats look to be standing up better to compaction issues than barley, which is suffering in some cases where crops were planted into less than ideal conditions.

Spring beans

There is a huge variation in spring bean crops. In the northeast, just 10% of crops are reported to be flowering. This figure moves to 20% to 30% in the midlands, 30% in the southeast, 50% in Tipperary, 80% in parts of north Louth and 100% in Cork.

Disease levels were reported to be low to moderate, with most reporting moderate levels. Most agronomists reported chocolate spot being present in crops, while downy mildew was reported in counties Louth and Carlow.

Disease control starts at early flowering, so many agronomists have prescribed the first spray or are doing so this week. Bean crops across the country have many different sowing dates, so there is a big variation in the start of flowering.

Spring beans flowering on 11 June at the Goldcrop crop variety trials open days on the farm of John Dunne, Shanagarry, Co Cork. \ Donal O'Leary


Barley yellow dwarf virus incidence in spring cereal crops was reported as high, in many cases, which will come as no surprise to anyone with yellow leaves visible in fields across the country.

In some parts of the country, moderate levels of BYDV were reported in spring crops with low to moderate reports in Wicklow, high to moderate levels in Wexford and moderate levels in north Dublin, but high levels in most other reports.

Agronomists reported that the majority of crops were sprayed and the majority at the three- to four-leaf stage, which is the exact time given in Teagasc advice for best control.

However, the late sowing date on most crops meant that there was always a high chance of BYDV infecting crops. Aphid numbers appeared extremely high this season in crops.

Where aphicide application was delayed until tillering, BYDV levels were noticeably higher in crops, one agronomist in the south commented.

An agronomist in the east said crops sprayed at the five-leaf stage are not showing much difference from those sprayed at the four-leaf stage.


Another noted that while there are visible symptoms of BYDV in most crops, the levels are highly variable. Rainfall over the past few days has helped crops and symptoms are not as prevalent as crops are growing.

Crops off colour

Many reported crops as being off colour in recent weeks and indeed that was reported in last week’s instalment in the paper. Cold weather has not helped crops.

Recent rain and warmer temperatures is bringing the green colour back into spring crops, which were struggling on headlands and where there was compaction. However, this is expected to impact yields.

Thank you

Thank you to all the agronomists for taking part in this survey to keep farmers and the industry up to date in their area and to see what’s happening across the country.

  • BYDV infection is high in spring cereal crops sprayed at the correct time.
  • Disease levels are low to moderate in spring barley.
  • Winter wheat fungicides are finished or finishing up.
  • Most beans are flowering or starting to flower.