Further east, showers have tended to be lighter and more sporadic with some areas receiving less than 10mm during the first half of June and nothing during May and April.  However, in all areas the recent rain has been very welcome, falling at a crucial time for yield building.

Just before the rain, dry conditions during April and May had begun to highlight “hot spots” on the lighter land and areas of poor soil structure which will need careful attention this autumn. Most wheat crops have escaped orange blossom midge infestation this season.

However, wet, warm conditions during flowering will have provided good conditions for fusarium infection and late septoria infection.  Therefore, on most crops an ear spray should have provided a sound investment this season.

In both wheat and pulses keep an eye out for aphid colonies which could build quickly if warm. In pulses, if a second fungicide is outstanding check whether an additional aphicide is required.

Sugar beet has responded quickly to moisture and many crops will meet across the row this week.  In backward crops look out for late germinating weeds such as Fat Hen and volunteer oilseed rape.

Many of you will be visiting variety demonstrations during the next month and selecting wheat varieties for sowing this autumn. Focus on the target market and be realistic about the cost and likely hood of achieving quality premiums. Consider the varieties according to their suitability for time of sowing (good standing for early drilling, prolific tillering for later drilling) and rotational position.

Consider yield potential, remember good specific weight is the corner stone of yield. For all crops disease resistance is an important consideration. Most weaknesses can be managed and for many growers, it is margin over fungicide costs that counts.  However, don’t put all your eggs in one basket – manage risk by selecting varieties which have different disease profiles. For example, if growing a significant area of a yellow rust-susceptible variety, partner this with a more resistant one.