Weather conditions in the South East have been excellent, coaxing more backward cereals on tremendously. Combined with an early T0 application of trinexapac-ethyl to promote tiller survival and increased rooting, cereals are now showing good potential. At the other extreme, forward crops continue to romp through their growth stages, slowed over the last week by cooler temperatures and an early T1 containing ethephon+mepiquat chloride. Disease pressure remains constant and highlights the need to keep fungicide timings tight and dose rates up to keep disease in check. The continued dry spell and good spray days have allowed good timeliness of spraying for all crops.

Oilseed rape has or is shortly due to receive a sclerotinia spray. Flowering is progressing slowly and night temperatures remain relatively low. Despite this overall disease pressure remains high as crops approach mid-flowering.

The tissue sampling carried out mid-way between T0 and T1 have shown low levels of magnesium, zinc, copper and boron in both cereals and oilseed rape. Further tissue sampling this week and next will hopefully indicate soil or foliar applied nutrients are beginning to raise the levels to sufficiency coinciding with rapid plant growth. Some crops are still showing as moderately deficient in sulphur, which may be due to a slight delay in early fertiliser dressing getting into soil solution at the time of sampling. As with any soil or tissue sampling, they are a snap shot in time and as such are always combined with further testing to indicate wider site specific trends.

Spring barley drilling is complete and saw crops going into warm moist seed-beds ensuring good even levels of crop emergence with limited weed pressure to date. Spring peas and beans have seen pre-emergence herbicide sprays working well on fine moist seed-beds.