TAKE STOCK of your situation and do not rush into autumn cultivations, drilling and spray programmes arable farmers have been told.

After the wet summer, soils are very tender at present, but excellent cultivating conditions and natural restructuring last year mean they are actually in good shape overall, said Hutchinsons agronomist Dick Neale.

“Because most primary cultivations have usually taken place by the end of August, growers might be tempted to rush onto the land.

“Soils are well saturated, so stay off them for as long as possible.

“Don‘t panic about blackgrass control via stale seedbeds,” he advised growers, suggesting it was already germinating on the surface and could be burnt off at the 2-3 leaf stage with glyphosate.

Growers should use only light cultivations to maintain seedbed quality, and give residual herbicides the best chance of working, he added.

“Well structured soils are essential if residual herbicides are to work properly.”

With the presently high soil moisture levels, it would not take much rain before growers were unable to travel on the land, warned Neil Morey, Cereal herbicide manager for DuPont.

“You don‘t know whether the next spray day could be the last.”

Producers need to use a good contact and residual herbicide, such as Lexus, he suggested.

For actively growing blackgrass, especially where protracted germination is an issue, Mr Neale recommended using Lexus at 30g/ha, together with the appropriate residual partner applied at the 1-2 leaf stage.