One of the few positive things that comes out of a major reduction insupply of a product in the market place is the realisation of just how well we can cope without it. This year, where I would have gone in with Crystal automatically, or where I would have used it at a lower rate for meadow grass control, I have been pleasantly surprised at how effective the alternative strategies have been.

 

Pendimethalin alone, on good seedbeds and straight after drilling, has worked fantastically in a block of winter barley with a known high population of (albeit as yet not difficult) blackgrass. Higher diflufenican rates (100g/ha plus), particularly in mixture with pendmethalin and prosulfocarb, have worked extremely well.

Once again, this year has driven home the importance of getting pre- emergence treatments onto the crop actually pre-emergence (of the target weeds). I have had some spectacular failures of robust pre-emergence strategies where, basically, they went on too late in a year when the crop and the weeds emerged very quickly.

 

It’s almost as if we need to think about the feasibility of having the drill, (with seed drilled to the safe depth) the rollers (where necessary) and the sprayer all in the field at the same time.

 

The phoma outbreak I reported last month seems to have eased. There was a huge variation in severity, with the worst affected being in the northern regions of my patch, especially on the chalkier soils. The coastal plain seemed far less affected.

 

I’m pleased to say all my growers who had severe infections managed to respond with due urgency and the fungicide treatments (almost exclusively flusilazole + mbc) appear to have worked very well, even given the catchy weather that was around at the time of application. The rape has since picked up, grown on and is looking very healthy.