What a difference a week makes. Glorious autumn sunshinehas moved progress into the Usain Bolt category as combines fly through the remainingcrops.

Winter oilseed rape is emerging well although laterdrilled crops will need a drink. With recommendation sheetslittering North Yorkshire for pre-emergence weed control it is nosurprise to arrive on farm to see large quantities of product stillin the shed.

Pest damage currently is low and fortunately the amountof slug pellets applied is much lower than last year. Total oilseedrape plantings will be closer to the normal level this year andwith further kind weather, establishment looks to begood.

Wheat and barley drillings are now under way andpre-emergence weed control programmes based around flufenacet aredue to be applied. The winter barley acreage will be down slightlyas malting premiums disappear and lower yield potential pressurisethe economics of output. The spread of wheat varieties beingdrilled reflects the HGCA RecommendedList, namely many.

AC Barrie, the high protein Canadian wheat, lives to fight another year, subject tocontract. I must admit it does wonders for logistics, helpingrelease storage space; however failure to hit the qualityspecifications would be a disaster.

Although on the whole spring crops did well this yeardue to the kind spring and favourable summer conditions, the targetwill remain to maximise the autumn drilling window rather than totake risks the followingyear.

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