Crops in the North West have continued to develop rapidly – too rapidly in some cases with lush, leafy growth, full of disease – especially mildew.
Few would want it the other way round, though, as in many years we have failed to complete autumn sowing due to excess rain, so this year is better in most areas. Granted, there are parts of central Lancashire and Cumbria where sowings are behind, but southern Lancashire and Cheshire have nearly all finished sowing, even after maize and most potatoes.
Most of our September cereal sowings have now been sprayed twice – the first time mainly targeting grass weed control and the second time mainly for aphids, carrying barley yellow dwarf virus. We’ve only had one slight frost and daytime temperatures are invariably still over 12C, so it’s been ideal for breeding more aphids.
Hence the need to keep on top of BYDV which can be severe. Many of the second applications were to Deter-treated crops, where the seed dressing will now have worn off.
Grassweed control has, mostly, been very good. A few growers have severe problems with ryegrass or volunteer oats, and so have been using either Axial (pinoxaden) or Atlantis (iodosulfuron + mesosulfuron), depending on the the crop and the weed spectrum.
On the few barleys we have, mildew is rife and we are also applying something cheap to sort it out. We are not really bothered about mildew on wheats, hoping the winter will sort it out for us.
Rape crops look excellent and the minority areas which need propyzamide are having it now – its too warm really, but it’s mid-November, so it’s probably now or never. Have we beaten the cabbage root fly? Only time will tell but we’ve tried hard, many crops have received three or even four treatments this autumn.