Extremely dry conditions in the south-east during the second half of August have led to oilseed rape establishment difficulties.

Direct-drilled and Autocast crops that went into early intomoisture have reached the expanded cotyledon stage and are growingaway well. Slug damage is minimal though vigilance and baiting arerecommended. Cabbage stem flea beetle damage is at low levels.

Crops drilled recently into drier seed-beds are more variableand in some cases sowing is being held back until rain arrives.This is delaying applications of residual herbicides until the crophas reached its first true leaf.

With record wheat yields last year the most popular varietiesseem to be Cordiale and Solstice, although we’re still searchingfor the ideal variety to fulfil the south-east’s Group 3demand.

Early wheat drillings are set to start around the second week ofSeptember.

With variable blackgrass control last year and pressurebeginning to show on Atlantis (iodosulfuron + mesosulfuron), usinga robust pre-emergence treatment is becoming increasinglyimportant.

Oilseed rape stubbles should be sprayed off with glyphosatebefore volunteer plants become too large, harbouring slugs andmaking good stubble management difficult.