Good weather means drilling is nearing completion, with some wheat still to be planted following forage maize. In most cases, seed-beds have been good, the exception being those on very heavy ground which has proved difficult to dry out at depth.

Slug damage has been relatively low, which has been good for reducing slug pellet usage.  However, in occasional situations slugs have been quite damaging, and required robust treatments.

Where pre-emergence herbicides have been applied they appear to be doing a good job, with grassweeds looking sick.

My policy is not to apply Atlantis (iodosulfuron + mesosulfuron) to a field in two consecutive seasons.  So in this situation we are stacking residuals, a strategy not made easy by the shortage of flufenacet products.

In situations where we are planning an autumn application of Atlantis we ‘tread a fine line’ between making sure all blackgrass has emerged, avoiding plants being too big when applied, and making sure conditions are mild and good for growth.

Oilseed rape crops have generally emerged well and are looking strong, but not excessively large. Conditions have been good for contact graminicides Aramo (tepraloxydim) and Laser (cycloxydim), and they appear to be doing a reasonable job on difficult black-grass.

Where necessary, this will be followed up with applications of carbetamide or propzyamide.  There is also some interest in mixes or sequences of these actives.

Where we have broadleaved and grassweed problems in oilseed rape, herbicide costs are at risk of going off the scale, whilst still not achieving satisfactory control.  In such situations spring cropping or fallow has to be considered.

The first phoma lesions have been found.  Timing of fungicide application will be dictated by disease levels, variety and crop size.

I have a few crops of winter linseed again this year.  They have emerged well and are growing strongly.  I hope this means they will be better placed to withstand frost lift should we have a hard winter.