Yes, there are still beans to cut! Not many though, and hopefully when you read this they will have gone. I am not sure that good bean yields make up for the anxiety experienced by all, waiting for the dying throws of harvest 2015.

Drilling on the whole has gone well and many farms are down to the last few hectares. Pre-emergence treatments appear to be working well at the moment, but fingers are crossed that this continues. I would have to say that the vapour from tri-allate applications is not my favourite perfume and would send a request to the manufacturers to add some Lily of the Valley please.

Where drilling has been delayed, for bad blackgrass infested fields, the resolve of the growers has been sorely tested. Refusing to answer my phone has added another day or two on, and continuing kind weather has helped immensely. My main concern for these fields is that there needs to be sufficient soil cover to ensure that the pre-emergence products don’t damage the wheat.

Slugs have now woken up and are vigorously consuming seed and leaves. Early drilled crops sown into moist firm seed-beds are up and away, with damage confined to small areas. Unfortunately, most crops are still emerging and ripe for damage. Reduced rate pellet applications have been subscribed along with continuing monitoring.

There is little doubt that flea beetle in oilseed rape crops has been more of a problem this year than last for my clients. The early drilled crops (mid August) had few problems and have romped away. The early September sowings have struggled as dry weather and cooler seed-beds have conspired to slow emergence and development. These crops have been very susceptible to attack. I think the only 100% successful method of control is a rapidly growing crop, which can be easier said than done.

We are all conscious of lower commodity prices and eager to ensure all our inputs are targeted to give the best return. Rape is in the spotlight for trimming input costs. The problem we have is that in eight months time I can tell you exactly what you should have done, but that is absolutely useless! The best we can do is assess risk and prescribe treatments tailored to that assessment. Small crops with visible phoma are high risk and should be treated accordingly. Conversely big crops with little visible phoma are low risk. Add into this mix the disease ratings and you have a priority list.

In the north, our main disease threat will be light leaf spot and, weather permitting; crops will receive an autumn spray before bonfire night. This also coincides with propyzamide timing or should I say that’s when it will be sprayed, sorry Dow your soil temperature data is helpful, but farm practicality also drives application timing!

Considering the late harvest and the area we had to drill, autumn has been kind up to now. Long may it continue.