The drilling in this area is nearly up to date – that’s to say it is out of the bag but not necessarily in the ground. The recent wet conditions have led to some indifferent seed-beds with some fields resembling a fly-through restaurant owing to the number of pigeons on them. Fortunately, high seed rates have beeen used and the warmth still in the ground is ensuring chitting occurs quickly. However, I am beginning to see more slug activity and this will only accelerate in bad conditions.

The initial flurry of pre-em herbicide treatments has stopped due to the lack of appropriate seedcover and early post-emergence sprays need to be carefully monitored. More foward crops that have not been treated because of the desire to drill now have blackgrass at 4 leaves plus, scuppering at least two sets of recommendations.

However, with the conditions still warm and growth still ongoing, the use of Atlantis (iodosulfuron + mesosulfuron) in with a good residual is going to be the treatment of choice in these situations. Later drillings are hopefully going to get the planned treatments only at early post-emergence.

Winter oilseed rape has seen quite an increase in phoma in the last 10 days and there is an urgency to get them treated, especially the smaller crops. Charlock is in some fields in large numbers and I have already had to treat some crops at an earlier stage than I would have liked, but at a greatly reduced rate in a effort to try and slow the charlock down.

I am pleased to say it has done precisely that – scorching the leaves badly – and the crop is now on par in size to the weed. I am confident in getting adequate control with the next appropriate dose in colder conditions

At the time of writing, soil temperatures have still been too high for the most efficient use of propyzamide. But with reports of some fop/dim chemistry failing and large blackgrass areas, carbetamide treatments have gone on earlier than normal with an expectation of a follow-up spray when soil temperatures do drop.