My last Crop Watch report at the end of November 2009 said that nobody had turned a wheel in the previous three weeks. We’re now at the end of February and, apart from a week or so before the snow came before Christmas, nobody has had much opportunity to do much since then either.

Consequently the biggest subject of discussion at the moment is outstanding autumn spray recommendations. Whilst every individual situation has its own criteria, there are some general rules I go by:

  • Crystal – latest label timing 31st December
  • Pendimethalin – not much use post – em on grassweeds -if they’ve emerged better switching to something else
  • Atlantis – forget it until things warm up
  • Contact graminicides – much the same
  • OSR Fungicides – if they’ve not already gone on I can’t see much point putting them on now until stem extension
  • Fox/Galera recommendations – who knows? Never put them on before this late this cold
  • Propyzamide – missed the boat
  • Carbetamide probably missed the boat
  • DFF/ Chlortoluron -varies depending on rate or product but most still valid.

All of the above are subject to the proviso that the ground is suitable for spraying. There is absolutely no point in spraying residual herbicides onto waterlogged ground. Firstly it won’t work and secondly it will end up in the river which will mean that’s another active we will lose.

Most crops seem to be coming out of the cold snap looking pretty well. I’m glad I didn’t waste any money putting growth regulator fungicides on my winter rape. Actually the cold seems to have saved a bit of dosh on broad – leaved weed herbicides in WOSR too; many of the fields I’d earmarked for charlock control will now not need doing.

The only exception perhaps is winter beans in wooded areas; the rooks have had a field day in places pulling up plants to get to the seeds. You’d think they would realise they’re on a hiding to nothing – perhaps they just carry on out of spite.