North: Dry weather proves a blessing

October weather has been very kind in this area. Mosthave finished drilling and even recent sowings are coming throughvery quickly. After the last two very wet autumns it’s great to begiven a chance to get crops established properly allowing the rootsto maximise their potential in undamaged soils.

A few oilseed rape crops are acting as a reminder of how wet itwas a couple of months ago. The worst were drilled during the firstweek of September and heavy rain that followed caused soil slumpingand capping which reduced plant vigour.

Due to the slow harvest, much oilseed rape was drilled inmid-September. Most of these crops have two to four pairs of leavesand good root development so the canopy should be ideal come thespring. (If the pigeons can be kept off!)

If not already done, a fungicide for light leaf spot protectionshould be applied soon and I will be favouringProline (prothioconazole) orPunch C (carbendazim flusilazole) applied at three quartersrate.

Where a history of damage from rape winter stem weevils exists or adult weevils can be found include a persistent pyrethriod. More forward crops may become leggy so I would apply  Folicur (tebuconazole) or Caramba (metconazole) to help regulate their speed of development.

Cereals are generally brairding well, but some in cloddy seed-beds are yet to emerge. However, recent rain should allow most of these areas to get up and away without too much attention from slugs.

Most crops received a herbicide at either pre-emergence or peri-emergence. Our first frosts came two weekends ago and hardened emerged plants before herbicides were applied.

Unless a specific seed dressing was used, keep an eye out for aphids on crops which emerged in early October. As long as ground conditions remain good I would treat all autumn cereals with a residual herbicide. As long as you apply at early emergence choice of product remains plentiful and good cover against annual meadowgrass and broadleaved weeds can be achieved for between £15 and £18/ha.

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