Recent rain has evened up cereal establishment and oilseed rape growth. Where cereal drilling was stalled due to dry and hard soil conditions, the moisture has finally allowed cultivation of reasonable seed-beds.
Moist, friable seed beds are ideal for the activity of most pre- or early post-emergence herbicides. If any of these sprays have been delayed they should be applied swiftly before grass weeds emerge. In these conditions recently sown crops are likely to emerge quickly, however, they should be monitored carefully for slug damage until full establishment.
Cereals that have not been treated with an insecticidal seed dressing, such as Deter (clothianidin), should be protected from aphids and consequential BYDV infection using a foliar insecticide.
Insecticidal seed treatments are typically effective for six to eight weeks after sowing. This season early-sown crops, particularly if vigorous, will require a foliar follow up in mid-October. Any foliar insecticides applied during the warm spell will be less persistent and these may also require a repeat application.
Rapeseed continues to grow rapidly and already most crops are robust enough to enter the winter period. Some forward crops will receive an autumn growth regulator whilst in other fields this job may be aided by pigeons. Look out for phoma lesions as these are expected to appear soon and the disease could develop quickly.
As mid-October approaches, some growers will start to consider bean drilling. Check the thousand grain weight of seed stocks and plan the seed rate according to establishment technique. Aim to establish 18 plants/sq m. Plan a robust pre-emergence herbicide tailored to the likely weed profile, as post-emergence options are limited, expensive and often unreliable.