The Calvinistic streak in my psyche has been prodding me incessantly these past few weeks suggesting that “we are bound to pay for this excellent autumn weather”! I am attempting to ignore the meteorological prophets of doom. However, it is great to be able to report how well the countryside is looking.

Most oilseed rape crops have established well and where pre- or early post-emergence herbicides have been applied, these have worked well. Those growers who have held back to use propyzamide and/or carbetamide may struggle to find any exposed soil on which to apply these products. Mind you, the soil temperature is maybe a bit on the high side at present. Hopefully, the thick crops will prevent pigeons from having runways to land on. Slugs are currently not an issue, but growth regulation alongside light leaf spot/phoma prevention is a priority.

Ever grateful for the absence of blackgrass in this area, weed control in barley and wheat has revolved around a combination of diflufenican, chlorotoluron, picolinafen and pendimethalin. There has been adequate moisture so the residual partners should perform well and contact activity has been good. In the main, it is only the winter wheats after potatoes, either drilled or awaiting field clearance to be drilled, that have to be dealt with. An insecticide along with the weedkiller should mop up any barley yellow dwarf virus (BYDV) carrying aphids.

Thankfully both wheats and barleys having been sown in near perfect conditions, are looking well and are not showing undue signs of stress. With soils remaining reasonably dry, despite a bit of rain last week, it is hoped that crops will establish a big root system to capture all of the nutrients planned for spring application.

The potato harvest is over for many growers, although some with large acreages now have to cope with a bit more moisture, but nothing to compare with last autumn’s war of attrition. Lifting conditions have been good with not much soil ending up in store. This should aid store management.