It is all very well and good saying: “once the frosts come, most of our present problems will go”, but when is this going to happen?

All week the queries come in about decisions on whether to spray ccereals with fungicides. Winter barleys in this area are covered in mildew and quite rank in growth. There is some debate about the thickness of the crop needing to be controlled and if control of mildew does occur, will this lead to too many tillers being left and, therefore, a possible loss in yield.

Certainly later barleys are at risk if this weather continues, plus the fact that aphids are readily being found in many crops, meaning a trip through is likely anyway. There has already been some fungicide treatment applied and I suspect more will be done.

Winter wheat is to a lesser extent in the same boat with mildew readily being found and also yellow and brown rusts in some varieties. Having spoken to some research station people, the inference is to still wait for the mythical frosts to arrive, as no one has had any real positive responses to a fungicide application in the autumn. However, I’m not sure whether we have had many autumns quite like this one!

The dry autumn has inevitably led to disappointing pre-emergence herbicide control and with the long dormancy of blackgrass, follow up treatments are now being applied.

Remember the ALS herbicides are fine while the weeds are actively growing so the effects should be very good with continuing good growing conditions. To prolong activity adhere to the guidance about including a residual in with the products being used.

Monitoring services are still showing soil temperatures are too high for efficient propyzamide use where blackgrass is the main target in oilseed rape