East: Plenty of time for planning

Although the weather during 2010 has not been conducive to spraying, more recently opportunities have been taken to drill spring beans and to continue lifting sugar beet.  Despite the freezing conditions during January most beet crops in the ground suffered very little root damage especially where canopy cover remained to provide some protection. 

I have not seen any significant damage from the cold weather and the snow on wheat or rape.  Rape canopies have shrunk somewhat since the late autumn so to get an accurate picture of crop nitrogen content we are weighing and sampling for dry matter and nitrogen content. 

Soil mineral nitrogen sampling has been hampered by weather and travelling conditions but early indications are that results are as low or lower than last season (0-90cm sampling depth).  This is to be expected given that winter precipitation has been higher than average and with soil temperatures around 3c the nitrogen cycle has shut down. 

SMN sampling wheat after OSR is showing some particularly low levels which may be explained by higher than average rape yields in 2009.  At least we have had time to catch up on paperwork and draft nitrogen planners and check all NVZ requirements are in place.

Very little autumn Atlantis was applied partly due to poorconditions preventing spraying.  Some of the high priority situationswere sprayed in December before the weather deteriorated but it hasbeen difficult to assess if the blackgrass is being controlled fully. 

Slow growth subsequently seems to be leading to slow death.  In mostsituations this spring where Atlantis was not applied in the autumn wewill switch to Pacifica at 0.4kg/ha as its higher loading of activeingredient provides better control of blackgrass. 

The higher 0.5kg/harate will be applied where fields contain brome.  Where possible wewill try to avoid tank mixing anything other than Biopower.  As timemoves on and soil temperatures remain low it becomes more and moredificult to avoid tank mixing other products.

Where rape did not receive its propyzamide by the end of Januarywe have now switched to carbetamide plus contact graminicide. Blackgrass control in rape this season has been confounded by theweather and even now it is very difficult to achieve a dry enough leafto stick a contact graminicide to. 

The only saving grace is that muchof the blackgrass remains comparatively small and has not grown intoenormous multi-tillered plants.

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