A quick glance at the calendar tells me it is December this week, hard to believe after the mild weather we have had recently.

Rape crops continue to race away and some are carrying huge canopies going into the winter. Soil temperatures have now declined enough to start applying Kerb (propyzamide) or Crawler (carbetamide) but given the size of some crops getting a residual herbicide down to the soil surface will be a problem. In large canopied crops we may have to wait until frosts open the crop up.

Phoma levels are low at the moment and opinion is split on the merit of adding a second fungicide whilst traveling through the crop. Aphid numbers are still high in crops and I am adding an insecticide to control these: cabbage stem flea beetle and rape winter stem weevil.

More advanced wheat and barley crops are carrying high levels of disease especially mildew. I have treated a few barley crops on light land, but I dont think the disease is worth treating on wheat crops at the moment, hopefully once we finally get some frosts this will sort the problem out.

Recently applied Atlantis (iodosulfuron + mesosulfuron) treatments are a mixed bag, some seem to be working well after only 10 days while others applied up to three weeks ago seem to be doing very little. Unfortunately I suspect this is largely due to resistance and that for many farms Atlantis has now been rendered virtually useless.

Looking forward this is going to make control of blackgrass on these farms interesting to say the least.

Winter bean crops drilled around the end of October are now well up and look rather too healthy and large for this time of year, thankfully most of my crops have been drilled at modest seed rates and at least don’t look over thick.