Three colder-than-average winters in a row, are we now seeing a pattern? I suppose the next question worth asking is will the recent run of drier-than-average springs be repeated again this year?

Crops have generally come through the winter well. Oilseed rape crops that didn’t have a second phoma spray in with the Kerb (propyzamide) or Crawler (carbetamide) have now, south of Oxford at least, got quite a lot of fresh phoma in them. Given the price of oilseed rape at the moment, I have written recommendations for these in the last few days.

Kerb applications applied just before the really cold spell in early December appear to be struggling in places. I suspect that it was rather too dry and cold for uptake of chemical at the time of application.

Visually, the blackgrass looks a healthy colour, but if you pull plants up and look at the stem bases they are very swollen and I am confident that, now conditions have been conducive to uptake, control will eventually be good.

Blackgrass control in oilseed rape crops that had an application of Aramo (tepraloxydim) earlier in the season followed by Kerb is better, which reinforces the message that earlier control, or suppression, preventing the plants from getting too large and well rooted helps.

Wheat crops generally look well and even those thinner looking late crops have filled out quite well. Very few crops had an autumn application of Atlantis/Horus (mesosulfuron + iodosulfuron), the weather closed in before most of the recommendations I had written could be applied.

Typically, control in crops that did receive an application has been very good, despite the fact it was very cold shortly after application. I hope, for the remaining crops, we get a decent spell of warm weather with sufficient soil moisture early on in the spring to allow good control.