At last, significant rainfall looks likely this week.

Just in time to boost, and in some cases save, struggling rape and cereal crops.

Hopefully this moisture (assuming it rains as forecast) will enable growers to complete final cultivations on fields previously too dry and cobbled to be drilled.

Following moisture, any outstanding pre- or peri-emergence applications should be completed as soon as possible as these will work best before the target weeds have emerged and started to grow.

In oilseed rape, moisture should speed up growth as soils are stillrelatively warm and plants will be able to utilise any appliednitrogen.

Also expect a surge in volunteer growth as a second flush is activated.

Very few phoma lesions have been seen, but continue to monitor cropsand treat once a threshold of 10% plants infected is reached.

This season, this is likely to be from the third of fourth week of October.

In all fields, slug populations will have been knocked by the dryconditions. However, it’s worth reiterating that when soils becomemoist the threat of slugs will quickly re-occur. Be vigilant and setbait traps, paying particular attention to backward or struggling crops.

Cereals not treated with an insecticidal seed dressing, e.g.clothianidin, should be protected from aphids and the consequentialBYDV infection. Treatment is typically applied at the one-to-two-leafstage, but remember aphids can feed as soon as the crop is green.

In some cases a pass of straight insecticide may be required (e.g.where pre-emergence herbicides have been applied). This may seemtedious but don’t underestimate the value of this spray. On all crops,whether having received a seed treatment or foliar-applied insecticide,a follow-up application may be required depending on the length of theautumn season.

As we approach the second half of October, thoughts turn to drillingwinter beans. Check thousand grain weights of seed stocks and plan theseed rate, aim to establish approximately 18 plants/sqm. Plan forrobust pre-emergence herbicide applications as post-emergence optionsare limited and often expensive, unreliable or both!