What a difference a rain can make! At the beginning of September, concern was mounting as dry soils made seed beds difficult and often expensive to achieve. This leading to many to sitting tight until rain. Others forged ahead with drilling, picking off fields where seed-beds and grassweed issues are easier. Now a green haze from the early to mid-September drilled wheats is showing as the maximum potential for harvest 2013 is set!

Recent rainfall has made seed-beds easier to work and more friable. Good seedbeds along with moist soil conditions should help maximise the efficacy of pre- and peri-emergence herbicides. Blackgrass will soon emerge, early completion of these sprays before the target weeds have emerged will also improve activity. Herbicide programmes, will depend upon the situation, but most will include flufenacet at pre- or peri-emergence.

In a season where slug populations are high, all crops should be monitored carefully for slug damage until full establishment. Don’t wait for the problem to occur before reacting! Be aware of the metaldehyde stewardship guidelines (a maximum crop dose of 210 g ai/ha from 1 August to 31 December). When selecting metaldehyde pellets consider the number of baiting points and number of repeat applications at normal dose.

Following last season, BYDV control is at the front of our minds and many will mitigate against early infection on September sown wheats by using Deter (clothianidin) treated seed. Several factors conspire this season to maintain a high risk of infection. These include high aphid populations on cereals (timely control of these will help) and potentially high infectivity within the aphid population. 

Persistence of Deter will depend on seed rate, but for mid-September drilled crops we can expect 8 weeks protection, after which a foliar top up may be required to protect crops until aphid migration ceases. Those relying on foliar applications will need to protect crops as soon as they are green. Patchy emerged crops may require two early applications to protect the uneven crop.

Establishment of rapeseed has been variable. Most crops are growing well, however, there are some crops where poor seed to soil contact and dry conditions have delayed emergence.  Most of these crops will respond well to the recent rains, but may need further slug and pigeon protection until full establishment. Look out for phoma lesions as these are expected to appear from mid-October and the disease could develop quickly.