It’s remarkable that crops look as well as they do given the November and December weather. With January being a bit warmer than last year wheat crops, particularly the earlier drilled ones, have responded and greened up well. Forward crops here are at GS23-25 with the later drilled ones at GS21 plus.

The small amount of winter barley I have is also green and well tillered, and at the moment not showing any manganese deficiency where I would have expected some. Disease levels, as expected, are not significant though mildew is still showing on both forward wheats and barleys. Septoria as always is on the older leaves of many wheat crops and will need watching as temperatures and rain splash becomes important in the next two to three weeks.

Oilseed rape establishment in this area is, by and large, very good and the crops were looking very good indeed until the enormous amount of pest ravaging by both pigeons and, as last year, rabbits. It’s heartbreaking in some crops that so much is going on. The bigger crops will survive this but some of the later and so smaller crops are at risk, unless the pests are kept off. Some crops also did not receive a fungicide, so smaller crops are still at risk.

Remember to check labels as to cut off dates of both grass weed and broad-leaved weed products where they still need to be used. The propyzamide cut off was the end of January, but carbetamide can be used up to the end of February.

The biggest problem at the moment is the unharvestable sugar beet, what to do with them and the likely effect on the following crops. Winter wheat I think is not the right way from now on as very few varieties now considered good enough yield wise this late, so it will have to be a spring crop.

Beet should be disced before ploughing and the longer they can left before turning over the better. This will allow beet material to dry out thoroughly before being incorporated, reducing the risk of anaerobic decomposition which could compromise germination of the following crop.