As if by magic the rain has done its job and crops are nowcomplete. Slug damage is minimal and the amount of slug pellets applied will beconsiderably less than last year. We have progressed from treating affectedareas with cost-effective metaldehyde in August and September to longer-lastingpellets in October. Further limited treatments will be with methiocarb-basedproducts.

 

Slow or no emerging blackgrass is the main issue for autumntreatments. I appreciate the sage like advice that “treatments early give thebest control of blackgrass” but what if there are no weeds visible?

 

Continuous wheat fields that have received Atlantistreatments in previous years show an interesting spectrum of grassweeds. Ingeneral, blackgrass is negligible but ryegrass has flourished along with oatsand brome. What is then the best plan of attack? The answer I suppose is to payyour money and take your choice.

 

The loss of isoproturon is probably felt the most in thewinter barley market. Missing pre-emergence products and a non chlortoluron-tolerant variety does set a nice challenge.

 

At long last soil temperatures have fallen sufficient tostart spraying winter rapes with residual grassweed products. Needless to say,two inches of rain over the weekend makes travelling on the land moredifficult. Phoma is noticeable by its absence but fungicide treatments will beincluded to cover light leaf spot and phoma.

 

Rape growth is lush to say the least having seen two deer inone rape field virtually hidden by leaves makes me ask the question “where arethe pigeons when you need them”

 

Maize crops have been harvested and yields are in excess of16 t/acre with wheat already been drilled into some fields. Fodder beet harvesthas started although the market is limited at the moment with plenty ofalternative cheap feeds available.

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