For the second year running we have had a proper spell of winter weather.

Most crops have come through this well, and in complete contrast to last year, winter linseed has suffered no visible symptoms of frost lift yet.

Defy (prosulfocarb) pre emergence, applied under a Specific Off Label Approval (SOLA) has done a good job of containing blackgrass, and a very good job of broadleaved weed control. However, I have two farms where only part of the acreage was treated with Defy and untreated fields are much more vigorous. Time will tell if this translates into yield and if Defy is really safe on Linseed.

Unfortunately, the inclement weather has left last autumn’s spray programme in tatters. Quite a bit of rape has not received a phoma spray or grass weed control.

On the positive side phoma in many areas didn’t reach threshold levels until December and the cold weather will have slowed its development, but priority needs to be given to its control now. Crawler is the only residual option for grassweed control left in February and remember no contact graminicide can be included with it now either.

Very few wheat crops received Atlantis (mesosulfuron-methyl + iodosulfuron-methyl-sodium) last autumn and quite a few didn’t receive an Aphicide. Hopefully, the cold weather will have limited the spread of barley yellow dwarf virus (BYDV).

As far as Atlantis is concerned it is still far too cold to contemplate its use yet. Unfortunately blackgrass plants in more forward crops are well tillered and will take some stopping. The last thing we need now is a cold dry spring like last year!

Finally don’t forget that if you are in a Nitrate Vulnerable Zone, that you need to produce a nitrogen plan for all fields before spreading any nitrogen containing fertiliser this spring.