Night frosts continue but with little rainfall in the past two and a half weeks there is a good opportunity for preparing spring seed-beds and applying P&K fertilisers.

Spring beans are being planted this week but it is probably a little early for barley to go into such cold soil. Remember if, planting beans, to apply a pre-emergence herbicide as there are few choices for post-emergence treatment.

Most cereal crops have come through the winter very well. Those that were drilled in September have tillered adequately, particularly winter barley. Later drilled wheat crops however have not tillered and will benefit from 40kg/ha of nitrogen in late February/early March.

As usual at this time of year, there are high levels of septoria tritici in wheat and rhynchosporium in barley but it is far too early to consider treatments.

There is a lot of talk in the press about the high risk of yellow rust in many wheat varieties but none is apparent at present.

Grassweed control in wheat is now going to be based on Atlantis(mesosulfuron + iodosulfuron) or Othello (mesosulfuron + iodosulfuron +diflufenican) but applications will have to wait for much warmerconditions with active weed growth. There is little chance of anythingbeing sprayed until well into March.

In oilseed rape carbetamide can be applied until the end of February.If cereal volunteers or blackgrass are still present it is really toocold to hope for good results with contact graminicides so they shouldbe held back until there is more growth.

Severe infections of phoma have developed over the winter, in spite ofcrops being clean in late autumn. Light leaf spot can also be found insome crops. If travelling through with carbetamide, it is worthwhileputting in a suitable fungicide as well.