Crops generally appear to have come through the winter reasonably well thus far.  Frost lift can be found, particularly on the chalk, and some fields will benefit from rolling in the spring.

Unfortunately, blackgrass also appears to have survived the winter well, with Atlantis applications planned when the weather improves.  Please remember that this is now your only option for black-grass control, so every effort must be made to maximise product efficacy.

Phoma has returned in many oilseed rape crops, albeit on old, big leaves.  Given this and the forecast for increased light leaf spot incident in our region it is likely that most crops will receive a fungicide this month.

There are a few oilseed rape crops which are fairly small and these will receive some nitrogen in mid February (weather permitting) to try and kick start them.  These crops also need protecting from pigeons.

On lighter ground the next spell of settled weather will see spring barley drilling start. Avoid forcing seed-beds at this early part of the planting window.

Nitrogen programs are being finalised for the spring.  The new RB209 gives scope to increase nitrogen recommendations this season according to the nitrogen/grain price ratio.  However, this decision also needs to take into account knowledge of the farm in respect to historic grain protein levels, yields etc…

Quite a lot of the data for the new SDHI fungicides and the new formulations of existing chemistry has been generated in the last two years, when disease pressure has been relatively low.  These products will be tried on a limited scale, so we can evaluate their performance on farm and learn about them for use in subsequent seasons.