As I write this I am looking out on yet another covering of snow with weather forecast not looking too optimistic this weather combined with uncertainty in markets is not helping optimism on farms. However on the whole crops when they are not covered in snow are looking reasonably well.

Oilseed Rape in our area is giving good ground cover and a combination of residual herbicide activity and the winter is meaning that crops are looking clean and very few will be needing a Galera tidy up.

Only about 50-60% of these received the important Light Leaf Spot fungicide so in cases where this wasnt applied more robust rates of Flusilazole or Prothioconazole will be applied at stem extension and depending on growth a decision needs to be made wither to include a metconazole for growth regulation.

As soon as ground conditions allow we will be aiming to get our first Nitrogen/Sulphur on to these crops to waken them up. Winter Barley still is an important crop in our area for rotationalbenefits some on lighter ground seems to be suffering a bit of frostheave and showing up classic manganese deficiency which will needcorrecting when ground conditions allow.

Due to prolonged snow cover there has been a lot of chat about snowmould and snow rot in the winter barley crop but only time wil tell ifthese materialise!! Despite current economic outlook on crops yieldstill is the main driver and growers should try and protect this inrecent years we have found that a robust fungicide programme is veryworthwhile and are frequently seeing up to a 10% increase frominclusion of a T0 which we will be basing on Cyprodinil and Morpholine.

Winter Wheat about 80% of this crop had autumn herbicide either asPre or Post Emergence and on the whole have worked very well i havebeen impressed with the Pre Emergence options and also the peace ofmind of being able to shut gate once crop is in ground so reducingreliance on weather later in season.

Any untreated crops that need AMGcontrol will probably now be considered for Othello butcareful attention must be paid to sprayer setup, weather conditions andtank mixes to get the best out of this product. Yellow rust has beenfound in this area and due to most varieties sown being susceptible nowand uncertainty over how new strains are going to behave i will not betaking any chances and all wheat crops will be getting aTriazole/Chlorothalonil fungicide at T0 timing as i dont want to bechasing this disease all season

Spring barley is very contentious at moment but for growers that canproduce the qulaity required the crop has a worthwhile place inrotation Optic is till going to be the main variety grown and we arelooking this year at Concerto and Forensic to take some market share. Alot of ground has been winter ploughed and when we eventually get goingi expect this crop to go in to very good seedbeds which will ensure aoptimal start.