Despite the late harvest, most clients are now drilled up with only a small acreage to drill after fodder beet and potatoes. Some are also sprayed up with only oilseed rape crops to spray with either carbetamide or propyzamide. We had our first decent frost overnight last Sunday, when temperatures plunged to minus 5C, which has helped harden off those crops not sprayed as yet.

Winter barley crops are growing rapidly and crop scorch is evident on most. Most forward barley is at GS22. I have one crop of Marris Otter which has signs of rhynchosporium and downy mildew is evident, so we will be applying a fungicide this coming week. All other varieties seem OK. 

Nearly all the winter wheat is in and the majority – about 90% – has been sprayed, either pre- or peri-emergence. Again, there is more crop scorch than normal due to very rapid and lush growth. Most forward wheat is at GS23. I have had very few problems with slugs this autumn with no treatment required on any second wheats and just a few problematic fields after winter oilseed rape. I will be treating the few acres I have with blackgrass this week with Atlantis (iodosulfuron+mesosulfuron) as the blackgrass is now at 2 true leaves and there is still plenty of active growth. I will also have to treat some fields for brome this autumn, otherwise there will be too much to leave until spring.

For winter oilseed rape crops, the sowing date and method has made a big difference to the crop growth. Most forward crops are at 7 true leaves and somewhere near 100% ground cover to the other extreme where we just about have 2 true leaves. Crops that were Autocast behind a deep cultivator (Sumo/Discordon) and sown between the 16-23 August are growing well, but where this method was used into first week, September crops are much slower to get away and more gappy.

Crops drilled after a deep cultivator are much better and definitely more even with the plough drill crops growing the quickest. Anything drilled after the first week of September is woefully slow to get going. Phoma started making an appearence the week before last on the earliest drilled crops, or adjacent to fields that were in oilseed rape last year. Around 70% of the crop has now been sprayed, with very forward crops having canopy management products in the mix. Soil temperatures are still too high for carbetamide/propyzamide, which I will apply to the majority of crops primarily to keep on top of bromes and ryegrass.

Four brave clients have taken the plunge and are growing winter linseed. This all went in either the last week of August or the first week of September. They all managed to get a pre- emergence spray on (prosulfocarb/SOLA) with very little effect on the crop. All crops were min- tilled, except one which was ploughed and drilled. All have had a graminicide and a fungicide. Two crops were treated with flupyresulfuron (SOLA) for runch and volume. Most forward crops are now two inches tall with most backward about one inch tall. All crops have good root systems. I’m just keeping our fingers crossed that they make it through the winter -and more importantly that we can cut them in July.