As I write this the first glimmers of warmth are predicted and at last the thermals maybe consigned to the cupboard; however the protracted cold spell means that crops are 10-14 days behind normal.

Incessant wind, cold and rain mean spray timings are all over the place and generally late.

As we rapidly approach the longest rape flowering period in history, sclerotinia becomes a real risk.

In my usual optimistic way, I also see alternaria being a real threat to rape with wet weather and lodged crops ideal for generating the disease. Mixes of prothioconazole and strobulurins are the most popular choice and will give good broad-spectrum disease cover.

Trying to get your hands on SDHIfungicides looks set to be tricky – you might have more success panning forgold in the Welsh Hills. I don’t think the marketing teams could have dreamt upa better season than this. Many growers have SDHI products on hand but for someit will be good old epoxiconazole, chlorothalonil plus a strobilurin. 

SDHI is a major investment andmust hit the flag leaf, therefore make sure what you are targeting is the flagleaf! It will be an expensive error if you spray leaf two.

Take-all is already very visible insome wheat crops with water-logged conditions leaving only black root balls, somore joy. As the flag leaf spray is being applied, use this time to startmapping grass weed areas and checking what chemical control has been carriedout. Good cultural control and multi product pre-emergence sprays are becomingvital to trying to control grass weeds.

Winter barley has kept remarkablyclean and I would have laid odds on net blotch and rhynchosporium being out ofcontrol. Late growth regulators have been applied and final fungicides will bedue soon. Again with wet weather and some nice early abiotic spotting, I amworried about ramularia so rates and products will be tailored to give somecover.

Winter beans have had the firstchocolate spot spray at very robust rates as the conditions for infection areideal. Again there are no rules for seasons like this and it could easily meana three spray programme.

I will lump all the spring cropstogether under the title “depressing”. At the current rate of drilling andgrowth, harvest could happen sometime in 2013.