Winter Wheat and Drought May '20
It is good to see winter wheat with leaf 1,2 and 3 showing minimal disease levels around 20th May. A relatively straight forward and appropriate fungicide programme on RGT Illustrious has produced just that.
Walking into the field and looking down onto the crop leaf roll can clearly be seen here and is not what one wants to see especially this early in the season.
Drought is a major environmental stress which threatens wheat yields as well as grain quality.
This crop and many others like it have shot from flag leaf to booting in a matter of days. Rather than disease causing plants to die prematurely whole fields are being affected by the current season’s weather pattern.
The severity and duration of drought stress determines the extent of yield loss.
The principal reasons for these losses are
1) A reduced rates of photosynthesis owing to metabolic limitations
2) Oxidative damage to chloroplasts
3) Stomatal closure
Drought impedes wheat performance at all growth stages, however it is more critical during the flowering and grain-filling phases.
So there is still time for rainfall to positively influence the yield of wheat crops but ultimately there comes a time when it will be too late. With the onset of flowering (in a normal season) around 9th June we really need some measurable rain very soon.