Crop Watch South: Tod Hunnisett on global warming

So here we are, coming to the end of what has been a quite interesting cropping year.

The dominating factor of this season seems to be, in my observation and at the risk of being shot down by some meteorologist anorak, a huge reduction in overall accumulated temperature – so much for global warming. The net effect has been both beneficial and problematic.

On the one hand autumn, pre-em and residual herbicide treatments were extremely effective. Autumn aphids activity was low. We had negligible winter and spring gout fly problems, very low early disease pressure, and orange blossom midge totally flopped at the box office.

On the other hand late drilled rape sat and looked horrible for months and was mullered by pigeons. Although cold, the wet autumn allowed slugs a field day. Spring cereals late sown or in exposed positions suffered. Red spring wheat kept me awake at night refusing to recover from herbicide effects, and later applied sulfonylureas in all crops have performed less than ideally.

We’ve had plenty of rain in the south of England but much colder days (and even colder nights) than we soft southerners have become used to over the past few years.

However, in general early drilled crops look fantastic and late sowings have compensated well. Oilseed rape has shown apparently astonishing powers of recovery, and peas and spring beans look promising. But fertiliser manufacturers have as big a job as MPs in recovering their customers’ trust.

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