Extremely dry conditions within a 15-20-mile radius of Shrewsbury means I still have oilseed rape fields with very little crop emergence, if any, and wheat fields after rape with only partial emergence. Any ground that has been ploughed and drilled, mainly ahead of second wheat, is also struggling to emerge. 

 

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I would guess that this predicament is affecting approximately half my combinable area to a greater or lesser degree. The land starts to get more arid the further west I come from Cannock/west of the M6, and by the time I get to Telford the impact of the dry conditions start to kick in.

 

South Shropshire has had reasonable amounts of rainfall, as has the north of the county. But rainfall over the past six weeks in-between probably amounts to 10-15 mm, on top of a very dry summer. At least an inch of rain is needed to get crops chitting/emerging.

Oilseed rape that is not up yet is going to need a mild autumn to survive a hard winter plus a lot of dedication to keep pigeons off. Six clients have been trying to irrigate rape crops among the high winds – all were min-tilled some six weeks ago.  

 

Rhamdrought1.jpgI am finding blue mould on some wheat seed but as yet have not needed to redrill. I am also finding gout fly eggs but not in any considerable numbers, and most crops have been dressed with Deter which does have an effect on level of damage observed in the spring.

 

Being positive, most crops are drilled; there is a small acreage of wheat left to go in after maize, spuds and fodder beet. We have no issues with slugs on wheat after rape. Seed-beds are generally good and where clients do have moisture rape crops are at six to eight true leaves and wheat is coming up in a week with most forward crops approaching GS21. Where we do have moisture spraying pre/peri ems on wheat crops is advancing well.

 

It currently feels like the end of April when we were wishing for rain. I am convinced if we have an inch sooner rather than later crops will change overnight, including the amount of rape that is literally wilting under the very dry conditions.