This week marks the first main drive to start wheat drilling. However, with most oilseed rape drilled in good time more growers than usual started drilling wheat in the first few days of September. Oakley is still proving popular along with Duxford, Grafton, Viscount and JB Diego.

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On difficult grass weed sites it is pleasing to see an increasing acceptance of more cultural controls such as delayed drilling, use of higher seed rates and stale seedbeds. Blackgrass is emerging fast so make every effort where possible to achieve these stale seedbeds before drilling.

Pre-emergence herbicides for blackgrass control in wheat are largely being based on flufenacet either with DFF or pendimethalin. Additional residual herbicides are being added on difficult blackgrass fields.

With barley now being drilled these pre-em herbicides form the cornerstone of grass weed control with such a limited armoury post crop emergence.Oilseed rape crops are establishing very well with good seedbeds and plenty of soil moisture.

Thankfully slug and flea beetle pressure is currently low but watch out for increased signs of flea beetle damage as the insecticide from the seed dressing begin to wear off. An almightly flush of volunteer cereals have emerged with the rape in min-tilled crops so will need controlling with a graminicide sooner rather than later.

Blackgrass, ryegrass and brome are also emerging thick and fast which will affect the choice of herbicide used. In the case of blackgrass in particular the timing of the graminicide will be when the blackgrass plants are at the one to two leaf stage.