We are still basking in what, at present has been a very kind autumn. Drilling is nearly complete with even the maize and potato land going in very well. Spraying has also been easy to complete, with no frost and tramlines carrying vehicles well.

I promise not to mention earliness of drilling, but the first wheat’s on blackgrass infested fields are receiving their contact sprays. To cheer those of you up in the south, we have sprayed our first areas off with glyphosate due to infestations of blackgrass! I had hoped our pre-emergence programs had done 80-90% of the job, unfortunately this looks more like 50-60%. We are once more reduced to a Blackadder scenario and another cunning plan involving Atlantis!

Fortunately blackgrass is not a major problem everywhere, so many fields will receive a cost effective mix of pendimethalin and diflufenican. Pendimethalin still provides a vital tool in the management of broad leaf weed control. In my opinion, on poppy infested land, it is the key foundation active to ensure good levels of control.

A routine aphicide will be applied to all the early drilled cereals. Those drilled later or not yet emerged will be assessed as the autumn unfolds. Manganese areas will also be tackled prior to winter.

Oilseed rape crops range from nice four leaf crops to triffid-like spider plants. Phoma remains noticeable by its absence and sprays will pimarily target light leaf spot in the north. Despite the threat of turnip yellows virus (TuYV) few crops have been sprayed specifically with an aphicide. In fact, I feel as though I have let the side down by not being able to report rampant flea beetle damage and plagues of slugs. In short, we were lucky, rapid germination and good growing conditions saw us through. I wait with bated breath for the Dow bulletin on soil temperatures and the optimum time for propyzamide application! In the meantime we will start applying it from next week.

Beans are now tucked away and pre-emergence sprays are being applied. Once again pendamethalin plays a key role in combination with an array of partners. Ensure that your product of choice does have beans on the label.