Crops continue to thrive as the mild weather continues. Many autumn spray programmes are near completion across most crops now.
Soil temperatures are still high enough for any outstanding Atlantis (mesosulfuron-methyl + iodosulfuron-methyl sodium) or Broadway Star (pyroxsulam + florasulam) applications to winter wheat. Where there has been good flushes of blackgrass, ryegrass or sterile brome it has provided a good opportunity to take them out whilst still small.
Various herbicide options have been used for broadleaved weed control depending on the weed spectrum. Cranesbill seems to be one of the fastest spreading broadleaved weeds in some areas, having a habit of popping up in new fields year on year. Ironically volunteer winter beans look a better “crop” than they did as planted crops last year, so poor were the drilling conditions.
Late-drilled crops are emerging well apart from odd slug grazing to watch out for on the heavier parts of fields, so keep monitoring until the crop has reached the two to three true leaf stage.
Winter barley crops are looking forward and lush and as a result some fields are carrying high levels of mildew. However, no fungicide is likely to be worthwhile at this stage as frosts should curb infection levels. Soft growth is making some barley crops more sensitive to autumn herbicide mixtures.
Winter oats have established well with only meadowgrass and broadleaved weeds to target in the main. Where blackgrass is present then the limited herbicide armoury means high levels of control will be difficult.
Oilseed rape is looking arguably too well in many places with huge, thick canopies. Although this is impressive to the eye and will discourage pigeons from landing, such crops are going to need careful management in the spring so that they do not end up being full of canopy and less end product. Soil temperatures are now low enough for residuals such as propyzamide or carbetamide to be applied.