In the last month as usual spray days have been few and far between with this weekend’s rain finally making sure we dont get on with any more applications this season. That said I am very happy with crops going in to the winter and travelling up and down the country, I think we have faired the best this autumn in my area.

Wheats are varying between 1-2 tillers and some of the later drilled crops are only at one leaf in fact some of the later drilled crops have been quite slow to get out of the ground mainly due to a lot of these crops not getting rolled. Slug pressure has been low and like I said earlier, most crops are going in to winter in good fettle.

As last season we did push on with pre/peri-emegence herbicides and again seems to have done a very good job although there is more crop damage this season than normal, mainly due to soft growth picking up herbicide. But as  reminded one grower, it is a herbicide and it does show it is working!

Farmers are taking advantage of buoyant market at the moment and committing a good chunk of 2011 crop. Also the optimism is making growers focus and a cost/benefit from inputs will encourage investment in crop for maximum yield.

Like wheat winter, barley is generally in good order although wet patches and headlands are looking a wee bit yellow but the crop is well tillered and going in to winter well.

We have managed to get most of our light leaf spot fungicides on to rape and in some cases done some plant growth regulators as rapes are as forward in this area as I have seen them. Any that needed propyzamide have had this applied, maybe not at perfect soil temperature, but as always it is a balancing act.

Now we are trying to work out what ground is left for spring cropping and advising growers on best options for this slot as always it is best to match farm to what quality they are best at producing.

On the spring barley front, Concerto looks like taking a big market share as it is becoming more widely acccepted by end users and growers agronomically it looks a good package and I will be looking at creating a blueprint over the winter to maximise the potential of this variety.

The next month, we will be focussing on, as everyone will be doing, the paperwork for nitrate vilnerable zones and not forgetting the Soil Protection Review. I would like to wish a Cropwatch readers a happy Christmas and prosperous 2011.