Autumn applications are drawing to a close for most growers and attentions are turning to spring management, say Farmers Weekly’s Crop Watch bloggers.

According to southern Crop Watch agronomist Tod Hunnisett from Sussex, spring cropping decisions were still up in the air. “If I could guarantee £325/t for a crop of linseed that yielded a minimum of 2.25t/ha the answer would be simple,” he said. “I love the crop, but the trouble is I can’t guarantee either of the above.” However, the price was creeping in the right direction, he added.

Decisions on oilseed rape management were also causing much debate, he noted. “As far as I’m concerned, a crop that is so large and forward that we’re worried about contact sprays hitting the target is not a bad problem to have.”

But Devon adviser Neil Potts from Matford Arable reckoned growers should be keeping a close eye on thicker canopies. “Unless we get a very hard winter, these crops will require some careful nitrogen management in the spring.”

Three weeks of wet weather had brought spraying operations to a halt. “But mild temperatures mean weeds have been growing rapidly and post-emergence herbicides must be revisited as soon as there is a window in the weather,” he said.

Due to the size of weeds chlorotoluron would be dumped in favour of Atlantis (mesosulfuron + iodosulfuron) or Othello (mesosulfuron + iodosulfuron + diflufenican), he added.

In the east, growers had all but completed their autumn scheduled autumn sprays, said Prime Agriculture’s Marion Self from Norfolk. “Falling temperatures mean opportunities for remaining autumn/winter Atlantis applications will be rare,” she said. “But cooling temperatures are ideal for the completion of propyzamide and carbetamide applications in oilseed rape.”

In the north field applications had come to a standstill and winter ploughing was impossible, said David Cairns from McCreath, Simpson and Prentice, Berwick. Volunteer beans had been a problem, but application of Pixie (mecoprop-P + DFF) had given good results. “But some untreated later crops have a good population of beans, so I’m hoping a few frosts and winter weather will slow them down,” he said.

“This season’s NRoSO course “timing, targets and water” is very worthwhile to attend as it really highlights the importance of delivering product to the right target at the right time,” he concluded.

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