Last week my agronomic advice includedsuggesting to a client that he should hop on a plane and go to Barbados for aweek, as there was very little, likely to take place on his land for some timeand at least the hurricane has been and gone over there. I don’t think he tookmy advice but at least he saw the irony of it. 

250mm of rain falling between 23rd Septemberand Halloween does not bode well for autumn drilling on any soil, especiallynot low-lying clay. I’m actually impressed with how much has been achieved. I’malso vaguely amused by the number of 25-year-old power harrow combinationdrills I’ve seen following ploughs while the £80k cultivator drill has beenstood up in the yard – I hope there’s NOT a lesson to be learned theresomewhere…

The plug has pretty much been pulled on any winter barley crops not yet drilled, but I’m not too worried yet about wheat. We’ve seen in the past how late we can go with winter wheat. Yields for December drilled wheat can easily equal spring wheat without the added hassle of trying to get seed that is (a) very expensive and (b) likely to be in short supply. It also means most planned pre-emergence programs will still be valid provided ground conditions are suitable. I am as guilty as anyone else in forgetting what it’s like actually to have a week without rain, and it’s surprising how quickly things can change. Ever the optimist.

Phoma is now easy to find in oilseed rape and is at threshold in some places, and with some crops still very backward a (non growth regulatory!) triazole is well worth it. Especially if it can be added to another input – I still have a few crops where the volunteers have not yet been sprayed.