West: Wheat still waiting to be drilled

As November draws near, we have a much larger area of well established crops compared to last year.  However, there is still a substantial acreage of wheat waiting to be drilled, especially following spring break crops.

After a slow start, most oilseed rape crops now look well, and growth regulatory fungicides have been applied to the most forward ones. Phoma levels remain low, but with warm and wet weather, are expected to increase soon.

Metazachlor/quinmeric herbicide mixes have worked well and carbetamide and clethodim treatments have been applied where blackgrass is difficult. As expected, the clethodim appears to be working quicker. Propyzamide treatments will be applied when the soil cools.

Wheat crops have established quickly, including those from over-wintered seed and the most forward have just started to tiller. Pre- and peri-emergence flufenacet-based mixes are working and we have thankfully not seen the catastrophic levels of blackgrass reported in other areas. Some contact graminicide treatments are planned for November.

Slug activity has been sporadic, with many crops only needing treatment only on localised, cloddy, trashy areas.

No frost to date means that crops are lush and there has been some crop yellowing, which is hopefully transient, following herbicide treatments.

Much glyphosate has been used to kill successive flushes of blackgrass prior to drilling. Dose rates have not been skimped to avoid encouraging glyphosate resistance. There are enough problems with the current limited chemical armoury available for this weed. Other rotational measures, such as some spring break cropping will be maintained, to allow further blackgrass control pre-drilling.

We’re hoping for a further settled spell of dry weather in November to allow drilling and spraying to be completed. Soils are still warm, and wheat drilled in November should still yield well –  and might be easier to manage than the very early sowings.

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