East: On the lookout for phoma

Oilseed rape crops are still growing away, especially the earlier-drilled ones though some of the later stands that had emergence problems after heavy downpours are also looking good. If the weather remains warm and wet we will have to think about regulating some crops.


Seed dressings so far are holding up and slug damage is being monitored closely. The threat of turnip yellows virus is at the moment very low as reports from Broom’s Barn show Myzus persicae catches in suction traps are very low. However vigilance will be required as these aphids can migrate later on if the winter is mild.


Having had quite a bit of moisture since 1 August it won’t be long before we get the necessary 20 days of rain to trigger phoma infections. Monitoring and receiving phoma alerts will be important. Two sprays this autumn look to be on the cards if conditions carry on as they are.


Wheats are now being drilled and thoughts turn to pre-emergence herbicides. Care is needed as blackgrass dormancy is high so emergence will be prolonged.


There are some more product choices this autumn – though not new actives – and these could certainly help broaden the strategy where difficult blackgrass is a problem. However an awareness of water company graphs showing pesticide levels is paramount as spikes are still being found with some of the problem pesticides.


Care is needed with applications on wet soils, particularly with some of the residual rape herbicides and chlorotoluron.


Sugar beet growers are – certainly in this area – looking forward to what could be a very good year after a very dry start. With weed control being difficult in some fields it is good to see some very large beet and even with low sunshine hours sugars are reasonable. Second fungicide sprays should keep later-lifted beet in a good state, provided we don’t get a repeat of last year’s frost.

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