This was Essex for a few weeks while the dust swirled, but its now situation-normal;  the traditional soaking that Cheshire and Lancashire are famed for. The prolonged dry spell has allowed excellent drilling and emergence and with that has also come some remarkable grass weed emergence – which is presenting a few issues on affected pockets of land. That’s not to give the impression that such problems are that common, but where they are, it’s a question of expensive doses following up the pre-emergence herbicides. Don’t waste money chasing broad-leaved weeds, which will be controlled easily enough in spring – but do ensure that autumn grass weed control has been effective.

Another rarity has also showed up; yellow rust, mainly in Skyfall, but also a scattering in other wheat varieties where we wouldn’t expect a problem. So far there is no need to treat, but it does need watching in case it develops into something nasty. Also, keep an eye on wheats following oats – both for frit fly, but mainly for excessive oat volunteers. These may need taking out with fenoxaprop herbicide before winter.

Early sown barleys are also showing some mildew and many of these will now receive something cheap and effective as winter mildew, combined with manganese deficiency and frost, is a killer.

On all cereals, make sure that post-emergence insecticide is applied now before winter to control aphids carrying BYDV (except where seed was insecticide-treated). Aphids can easily be found on stubbles and so we must presume on emerged crops also. Gout fly have been busy and eggs are visible on many barley and wheat crops – so expect to see symptoms in spring.

Oilseed rape crops are mostly very good, all covering the ground, and flea beetle was not an issue anywhere. On the other hand, most crops have some obvious cabbage root fly damage and this will lead to some thinning of crops as winter develops. Those sown before 25 August are worst affected, but the main risk factor is proximity to other land growing brassicas, recently or in the past. Phoma and light leaf spot are virtually non-existent so far, so only minimal fungicide doses are required.