Despite the warm weekdays we have had, the night temperatures have been cold and this has reflected on the lack of growth in many cereals in this area.

The colour has improved, but growth has not. Further north of me, some crops on the lighter soils are near to GS31, but here some might be at the T0 stage by the end of this week. Soil temperatures are still low and the clays soils certainly are, and this I think is the problem, we need warm nights.

Of course the next thing is going to be lack of rain!! Fertiliser going on needs it and although spring crops have, in general gone in well, they will soon feel the effects particularly on the lighter soils.

Yellow rust has been seen both in Oakley and Robigus and reinforces my belief that T0s are vital this year, especially as around 60% of the varieties in the ground are rust susceptible. The mildew that was bad in some Oakleys in the last fortnight seems to have died away, but there is plenty of septoria inoculum on older leaves to watch if we get any rain.

Very few barleys around here have started to lift above ground, in fact, only the oilseed rape rape is at stem extension, especially where they have not been decimated by pigeons and rabbits. It has been heartbreaking to see how in a matter of days some larger canopied fields have been stripped to the stalks.

Vigilance is paramount. I was surprised to see pollen beetle in rapes last week that have barely got a bud to talk about, but if warm days continue, these will pose a threat and monitoring is vital particularly in this area where I know there is pyrethroid resistance. The newer insecticides can only be used once and so the decision when to use these is going to be critical.

Sugar beet has gone in some of the best conditions for many a year and all pre-emergences have been applied. Remember to get all the nitrogen on at full cotyledon as delaying can decrease yield and, if cupped leafs are present, have the potential for crop scorch.