Between the blasts of stormy Abigale and Barney, growers have seized spray opportunities and are now largely up to date with scheduled autumn applications including barley yellow dwarf virus pre-emergence herbicides on wheat after beet.

In late drilled crops it may still be possible to apply residual herbicides before the main flush of grassweeds. For most September/October-drilled crops despite heavy residual treatments grassweeds are now emerging and in some cases as field conditions get wetter the blackgrass looks feisty!

As temperatures cool and opportunities for autumn contact sprays dwindle we have to hope that the winter is cool enough to slow down growth; so that we not trying to control large, well tillered plants in spring when the bulk of contact treatments will be applied. Things may look a little ugly as heads emerge in May.

Outstanding BYDV and manganese applications also need tidying up.  Some crops especially barley look a little “yellow”, this can be due to a number of causes. Old tramlines and cultivations passes are sometimes visible highlighting soil structure issues but other more general yellowing may be symptoms of water logging and herbicide damage.

On lighter land keep an eye out for symptoms of manganese deficiency.

In rapeseed, conditions for the completion of propyzamide (such as Kerb Flo) and carbetamide (such as Crawler) are now ideal assuming you can travel.  These actives work best when soils are cool and moist allowing the actives to be held in the top few centimetres of soil where weeds are germinating.

However, applications should be stewarded to minimise run off into surface water, in particular applications to water logged soil should be avoided.  This application also provides an opportunity for a top up of phoma control but if mixing grass-weed control with a fungicide you will need to apply to a dry leaf.

Now is the time to start planning for the spring! Growers should begin calculating their N Max for each crop and planning field by field fertiliser applications.