This season most crops in the area could not have had it better. The weather allowed good establishment establish without any major pressure and some crops look more like they should in spring. November has arrived and brought wetter, colder weather which will lower soil temperatures and slow growth.

The favourable spell has allowed us to get up to date with herbicide applications for broadleaved weeds and meadow grass. Generally I have been pleased with results, although some appear to have been very slow acting, which is probably due to drier conditions.

Crops which had no insecticidal seed treatment have had an aphicide applied as winged aphids have been very apparent. However later-emerged crops and colder temperatures should reduce vulnerability. Most oilseed rape crops received an early herbicide for broadleaved weeds and seem to be working very well. Those that didn’t will receive a propyzamide application when soil temperatures are low enough.

The most yield robbing disease of oilseed rape in this area is light leaf spot. Generally this requires a two-fungicide strategy for best control and autumn applications are being applied based around prothioconazole or flusilazole combinations and any remaining volunteer cereals are being taken out with a suitable graminicide.

As the autumn season is being put to bed thoughts are turning to spring cropping options. I think growers will be looking for supply contracts rather than planting crops optimistically and hoping for markets to develop.