All but the most backward winter rape crops are either at theend or close to the end of flowering, and unless we have an aphidinvasion the next time field gates are opened will be todesiccate.

The spring crop is a different matter and varies from Ritz,which is mostly bad or a crop failure, to the very good. There arelarge numbers of pollen beetles in most crops and, given thatspring rape is less able to compensate than winter rape, these arebeing treated with insecticide.

Spring barleys look well, although some are very short. The mostforward are just at awns emerging and will receive a secondfungicide based on prothioconazole this week.

Winter beans are a mixed bag, with some late-emergingmoisture-stressed crops of Wizard still only 12in tall andflowering. Earlier-drilled crops on moisture-retentive clays are3ft tall and look well. All have received one fungicide so far anda follow up will be applied three to four weeks after the first. Ifthe weather stays dry, more emphasis needs to be on bean rustcontrol with the second spray.

Winter wheats are at ear emergence and thoughts must turn toear-wash sprays and orange blossom midge control.

This season is completely different to last. If it stays dry forthe next week to 10 days the fusarium risk should be much lower andthe emphasis of the ear wash should be as much about topping up theflag leaf spray as on fusarium control.

All quality wheats will still receive an ear wash; the decisionon feed wheats will hinge around variety, yield potential andlevels of moisture stress. At the moment orange blossom midgelevels seem low and I haven’t yet found a crop which requirestreatment. Long may this continue.