Rain over the past fortnight hasat last penetrated far enough into the soil to encouragegermination of cereal seeds, some of which were sitting in theground for a month without moving.

As a result, there are many uneven cerealcrops with some plants at three leaves and others just emerging.This is causing a problem for the timing of early post-emergenceherbicides. In some fields flufenacet mixtures planned forpre-emergence were not applied because of inadequate drillingdepth.

Now, uneven emergence is complicating the post-emergencetiming.

Similarly, in barley, where chlortoluronis in the mix, it is best to wait until the three-leaf stage. Butby the time backward plants have got there weeds in forward areasmay be getting too big. Aphicides are being applied along withherbicides where seed was not Deter dressed.

Slugs have caused some problemsparticularly in cloddy areas and crops following oilseed rape.Regular inspections are vital until the crop is wellestablished.

Oilseed rape crops are also variable ingrowth stage, but most are now fairly well established with a fewbeing very lush. As yet there is little sign of phoma, but recentrain is likely to encourage it to develop. Once it reaches 10% ofplants infected, or less in backward crops, fungicides should beapplied.

For those planning to use propyzamide forweed control in oilseed rape, the soil is still too warm and dryfor application. It is likely to be mid-November before soilconditions are suitable. Caution will be required, as rape plantsare still emerging in some crops and will need to reach at leastthree leaves before propyzamide is applied.