Over the last two weeks we’ve had approaching 150mm rain, along with the rest of the country.

This has put a different slight on field operations and those with late wheat crops to go in are struggling. The mild temperatures have delayed maize maturity and crops are coming off later than normal, which isn’t helping. Last year showed us just how late we can plant winter wheat, so I’m telling people not to panic just yet. Another message from last year was that getting the crops in under good conditions is more important than absolute timing.

Having said that, the crops that are in, up and sprayed are looking very well. A bit of residual herbicide damage on some, but nothing to give me any major worries. Oilseed rape is romping on steadily, so far with very little disease pressure. If phoma comes in now, relatively late on large plants, the risk of it turning into damaging canker is considerably less than it has been in past years. My first recommendations for propyzamide and carbetamide have started to go in, with a note to wait until the soil temperatures have dropped. The manufacturers have good monitoring information on their websites so they’re worth keeping an eye on.

We seem to have these long spells of either high or low pressure that ultimately tend to balance each other out. Unfortunately they are very frustrating when there is work to do and we have two or three weeks of shucky (or quite frankly unworkable) weather. What we have seen, though, is how quickly the ground becomes friendly again when the weather improves. So growers who have geared themselves up to achieve high work rates when conditions are good seem to be the winners in this situation. That and a bit of patience, followed by a bit of good old-fashioned urgency.