East: Another year another try

With harvest, or something like it, more or less finished in this area thoughts turn to trying once more to realise the potential that we have had for the last three years coming into spring into a reality!

In spite of aggressive fungicide applications, disease levels remained high and then with the lack of sunshine the double problems of high fusarium and low grain fill finished off what potential there had been for a bumper crop.

This area has come off better than some with specific weights being variable between 68-80kg/hl, whereas other areas being a lot lower leading to low yields. The only good thing about this year is the price being as high as it is.

Winter barleys, oilseed rape and spring barleys have in general been a lot better than expected over here again, softening the disappointment in the wheats to an extent.

So to this year, less earlier drilling than last year as a result of the protracted harvest may help in situations where BYDV was an issue, though in my mind all seed to be drilled before first week in October should have an aphicide dressing. Follow up sprays will be important if aphid migration continues into the late winter and aphid forecasting should be looked at carefully.

The prediction of a long blackgrass dormancy this year will lead to some head scratching as to the optimum way of dealing with it, particularly if seedbeds are dry and cloddy, and there should be some long conversations about how to go about it – especially if control was poor last year.

Thoughts should turn to using some of the cultural methods and not total reliance on chemical control, ie later drillings (where practical), thicker tillering varieties and cultivation techniques. The best start of course is the stale seedbed, but it looks as though there won’t be a lot of time for that to happen.

Here we go!!

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