Drilling is progressing very
rapidly in this area and a lot of growers are anticipating
completion by the end of week. If good conditions continue, I think
growers will continue to plant wheat due to uncertainty over spring
cropping, which will put pressure on barley market
supply.

Earlier, seed-beds were drying
out quickly and were difficult to achieve. Following the recent
moisture, conditions have changed and they can be well
consolidated.

Because dry conditions meant we
could consolidate, slug pressure is very low and metaldehyde use is
at the lowest I have seen. After moisture, it will be interesting
to see what traps show this week!

Benign conditions have allowed us
to progress with cereal herbicide applications as planned. We are
seeing growers getting on with pre-emergence flufenacet and
pendimethalin or flufenacet and diffufenican applications, although
in reality some of these are actually at the peri-emergence
stage.
Because we are using reduced
rates of these products targeting annual meadow grass, we need to
boost the broad-leaved weed control, using DFF or Lexus depending
on situation.

Obviously, once weeds have
emerged, these products are not as effective and we will have to
look at other options – probably chlorotoluron combinations or
pendimethalin/picolinafen products and maybe mesosulfuron-methyl
and iodosulfaron-methyl if annual meadow grass is
missed.

Aphid pressure remains high and
if seed has been clothianidin-treated then hopefully that should
give us cover.

Alternatively, an insecticide
will be applied when crop is at the correct stage.

Despite looking a bit stressed
for a week during dry weather, oilseed rape crops are now looking
superb and any volunteers are being tidied up. A light-leaf spot
fungicide is being talked about, and there is even contemplation of
a fungicide with growth regulation effect!

We are seeing a lot of soil
analysis and as a huge amount of P and K holidays were taken last
year, it is vital that we address this. Reduced phosphate and
potashes prices will obviously help.

So I hope
with one of the best autumn drilling periods for some time, we are
left with some area for our vital spring barley
crop.

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