On the whole, crop establishment in
However, as the year draws to a close, we are still 250mm of rain short of our long-term average and with the long range forecast predicting a dry winter this could provide some interesting challenges for 2012.
At long last soil temperatures are falling and the opportunity to apply residual graminicides is here. Heavy soils with grassweed burdens must be the priority and, although not ideal, this will often be tank mixed with a fungicide. Broad leaf weed problems in oilseed rape are much more difficult to deal with as the options available are very limited. Bifenox will be applied where suitable and, coupled with some helpful weather can, solve some brassica issues.
The mild weather has led to some very soft growth in the wheat and barley. Winter barley is always the most challenging crop to spray in the autumn and with limited grassweed control options crop checking is always a potential problem. In my experience, this tends to be more visual than yield robbing, but it always is in the field everybody can see!
Winter wheat on the other hand is a sturdier crop and appears to suffer less. Atlantis (iodosulfuron + mesosulfuron) treatments are now being applied with residual partner products and should work well. Non-blackgrass fields are receiving a cheaper residual mix with, depending on volunteer rape, a contact-based product as required.
Aphids can at long last be found so crops emerged with two true leaves will also receive a pyrethroid. Despite the public perception that we as an industry have the sole aim of applying pesticides at every opportunity, it has been a delight to have an autumn where slugs have not been a major issue and pellets applications have been minimal. Let’s hope the rest of the season follows a similar pattern.