Field conditions are still very soggy and the drains are running well. Oilseed rape has much better establishment and growth than last year,but pigeons are starting to be a problem. It’s too late for Kerb(propyzamide) so you need to move to carbetamex for weed control.

A lot of crops were not sprayed for phoma – consequently the disease isrife and needs controlling. Flusilazole applied at up to 0.5-0.6l/hashould give good control. Light leaf spot isn’t really a problem inthis area, but it is a disease that likes the cold so it needs lookingout for.

First nitrogen applications are high up the agenda once the crop startsgrowing and most will be putting on nitrogen and sulphur. We’ll becarrying out SMN testing before making the first nitrogen applicationand at stem extension we will look at plant growth regulator fungicideoptions. Metconazole is good where there is excessive growth.

Residual herbicides applied to wheat have worked well, especially Liberator (flufenacet + diflufenican). Somegrowers that didn’t manage to apply insecticides in the autumn areconcerned about BYDV, but temperatures will have been low enough tokill some aphids and I’m hopeful there won’t be too much BYDV around.

Plantcounts are good and have tillered well. There are no signs of mildewand a few rust spots that did exist have succumbed to the cold weather- I’m not expecting a massive rust problem this season. There is someslug damage in wheat, but they have eased off since the cold weatherand the crop will start to grow through the damage as soon astemperatures start rising.

A lot of people are still tying tocontrol blackgrass as there were very few opportunities for applyingAtlantis in the autumn. But growers shouldn’t rush to apply springAtlantis and should wait until there are temperatures of 8-10C and thecrop weed is growing away.

However, you should get Atlantis applications out of the way before midMarch when T0s will be required. To improve Atlantis efficacy you don’twant to mix it with any other products.

Barley generally looks yellow and fed up due to the cold weather, butit should perk up as the weather warms up. Growers are waiting for theground to dry out before planting spring beans, but it is likely to be10 days before they are able to get started.