After an awful summer we moved into a very dry and unusually warm autumn drilling season. Consequently the winter crops went in to very good conditions and many growers have finished earlier than expected. There are a few winter beans to go in but generally speaking everybody seems to be wrapped up. Most emerged crops look very well but some later-drilled crops on heavy ground are still struggling for moisture.

Pre-emergence herbicides went on in less than ideal conditions, with varying results. A few millimetres of rain a few days ago appears to have reactivated them, so in most cases I’m not rushing in with post-emergence follow-ups just yet.

Winter rape, after a slow start, took off with vengeance in response to the warm weather. Now all crops look very healthy, some would argue too healthy, but this is a problem I actually like. I’ve seen very little phoma and with some crops up to welly-boot level I think the risk is minimal this year.

It’s possible we might get some light leaf spot later so the rape probably will get a fungicide, but again, I’m not going to panic. I’ve never been a great believer in autumn pgr fungicides, my experience has been a decent frost and winter temperatures normally do the job for free.

When the temperature has fallen considerably I shall be looking at propyzamide/ carbetamide grassweed follow-ups in the winter rape – a strategy programmed in to the majority of rape crops I’m involved with.

The decision on what to put on winter beans as a pre-emergence rears its head again. Last year prosulfocarb/pendimethalin ran out of steam and the wet summer let weeds take over. Back to clomazone mixes again? Perhaps the answer is not to grow winter beans.