In the previous Crop watch report I commented how well the crops had come out of the winter, however most of them had been insulated with a cover of snow,protecting them from  freezing temperatures.

Febuary has seen a mean temperature of 2.4 degrees,  with a maximum of 7.3 and lowest of -2.6 degrees, March so far has fared no better. Soil temperatures  got to heady heights of 4.4, but have soon dipped to 3.3and below Winter rape crops with large canopies have lost their  outer leaves,  the nitrogen will have been dissapaited to new growth.

In crops with large canopies I have found evidence of stem cracking, which is associated with frost damege. This pheneomen appeared a few years ago when the term wind chill factor entered our vocabulary. Having done some reaseach ,  I have found a scientific paper that  suggests that large canopied rape is more susceptible to damage from low temperatues and increasing day length.

If you go to Germany or France you do not see crops with largecanopies, as they have hard winters and springs. Smaller rape cropsare not exhibiting these symptoms. With soil temperatures below 4 therewill be very little evidence of Nitrogen uptake by crops as roots willonly function if the temperature is 4.All my  rapecrops will be or haverecieved their first top dressing of N/S. Rape does actually grow atlower temperatures and daylength then cereals.

Winter cereal grown on light land are showing evidence of frost lift,and when there are no night frosts forcast hopfully these will berolled in order to consolidate the roots. With such hard nightfrosts manganese defficient crops have not been treated, as this wouldonly exacerbrate the problem.  With such low soil temperatures there isvery little evidence of new root growth in cereals.

Atlantis appliactions will be dealyed until soil temperturesincrease and there is evidence of active growth. All wheat crops thatare to be treated will be top dressed in order to  encourage  growth ofweed and crop. Blackgrass has only just started to grow as there  newroots are just appearing.

Blackgrass does grow at lower temperaures, and light intensitiesthan wheat.Having had all blackgrass tested on my farms over the years,and all exhibiting various degrees of resistance Atlantis will beapplied on its own in order not to comprimise it effecicay.

With disease development been delayed, hopfully the  To timing will be where it should be i.e end of March.

If the whether holds during the next few days, hopfully all springbarley /spring wheat and spring beans will be drilled. At present withsuch low soil temperatures I am advising all beet drills to remain inthe shed.