My last month’s observations on how the crops had greened up were very short-lived. Having woken up, they sucked up the tiny amount of nitrogen available, turned green, very quickly got hungry again and started to go backwards. Only within the last week have they started to respond to the applied bagged nitrogen.

Deep N samples have shown, not surprisingly, very low levels in the profile. As it happens, the crops being held back has not turned out to be a problem, because in the odd patch where there was a bit of nitrogen around they are far too forward for this time of year. On the whole, most wheat crops have come back into kilter and are now at “normal” growth stages.

Three or four dry weeks and colder night temperatures have stopped the rust from getting any worse. However, the recent rainfall, (wonderful for washing in fertiliser) has kept the septoria risk high, so fungicide strategies should still be pretty robust.

Winter oilseed rape went into emergency mode when the weather dried up and extended, then flowered, very early. Having had a stem-extension/growth regulator fungicide they will soon be needing tickets for a mid-flowering fungicide. With the possibility of a longer flowering period, which is generally good news, we may have to consider a second flowering spray.

Spring crops have gone in, generally speaking, to very good conditions. Pre-emergence residuals have been applied and, thanks to some fairly manic activity, everyone’s keeping on top of stuff. Nitrogen applied, first applications of fungicides to wheat and barley (can we forget this moronic “T” terminology?) spring drilling and much more. It just seems like the whole of the arable industry’s feet have not touched the ground for about six weeks!