It was certainly a first for me having to deal with the question is it to hot to spray? Yes in May and June – but October? Common sense dictates that chemical degradation and volatilisation is likely to increase but with only a limited spray window spraying has continued.

Seed-beds on the whole are good as the rain that disrupted our harvest has benefited cultivation. Early drilled crops are now emerging and many will be receiving peri or early post-emergence treatments. Flufenacet provides the backbone of the early spraying regime and we hope that control levels will be as good as last year.

Slugs are noticeable by their absence and with rapid emergence hopefully the highest risk period is past. This should help minimise the amount of metaldehyde used this season helping protect this useful active.

Drilling will be entering the final furlong this week with crops following roots, maize and second wheats finishing off what looks like a promising start.

Oilseed rape is now reaching six true leaves with some crops already very large! As usual flea beetle, pheasants, rabbits, and the odd slug have started fattening up for winter on the rape crop.

No phoma lesions have been seen yet, which for us in the north will mean light leaf spot and growth regulation dominate our thoughts. Despite sitting through numerous presentations on the benefits of two autumn sprays, in the real world if required one is the goal.

Blackgrass can easily found in the rape crops and plans are in place for residual spray programs. As usual I will wait with bated breath for the e-mail saying it is cool enough to spray the residuals.

Beans will be drilled from next week and the weed control programme has to be based around a pre-emergence programme followed by a wing and a prayer. Although this is early, results have been favourable from this early drilling slot, particularly with the shorter modern bean varieties.