Fire, drought and pestilence seem to be the events that we have been spared, in this part of the world, so far this season.

However, considering the extremes of weather that our crops have been subjected to since drilling, they are looking surprisingly well. Only some later-sown crops on heavy ground are now waterlogged, and have patches that will be rotted out.

The main problem with many winter oilseed rape crops is that they did not receive a light leaf spot spray in the autumn due to the early onset of winter.

However, I am treating the next few weeks as “autumn” and sprays applied in this period will be followed up by the normal spring stem extension spray. As most rape crops are unlikely to require growth regulation, fungicides containing prothioconazole will be the active ingredient of choice.

During the early winter period there was much discussion in the bar about the possibility of finding snow rot (typhula) in winter barleys once the snows had receded. So far, this does not seem to have been the case probably because we do not build such a mass of green top growth in the autumn nowadays.

Perhaps there is something to be said for NVZ regulations after all !!In general, foliar disease levels in winter barley and winter wheat crops are at a very low level. However, the current wet weather will no doubt change this situation. Crops will require constant monitoring in the run up to the T0 spray timing.

Apart from this, soil sampling will the main priority for the next week or so. The main targets will be FLN and plus any tests for plant nutrients that fell foul of the aforesaid wintry conditions.