Though not exactly arid, the east is certainly a lot drier than the rest of the country with reports from colleagues around the rest of Britain of saturated fields and severe worries about whether many fields will get drilled with anything this winter.
In this area, however, we have had some very good seed-beds and this reflects in the the way that many of the earlier drilled rape and cereals crops are looking at the moment. Some of the later drills are are a bit slow in coming and seed-beds not as good as they were, but germination is occuring and providing that slugs can be kept away should emerge well enough.
Oilseed rape is anything between 3-5 leaves in early drilled situations and cotyledon to one true leaf in the later time slots. There are, however, quite a few that are at 3-5 leaves and cotyledon as the wet weather finally reached some seeds that were sitting in dry conditions.
This is causing some headaches over timing of herbicides, especially as volunteers need removing at the same time as broad-leaved control needs doing.
Blackgrass in early rapes is now at the tillering stage with a lot of 1-2 leaved plants in other crops. If these are in resistance areas then I am going to try the earlier timing of carbetamide which claims to slow down growth of the blackgrass and ultimately help further the efficacy of the follow up propyzamide treatments. Soil temperatures are still too high for propyzamide.
Aphids have been reported in some emerging barley crops and after last year these must be monitored and dealt with accordingly.
Myzus numbers to date are low so in the short term the turnip yellows threat is low, but again watch the aphid number reports carefully
Slugs are still the biggest threat and there is some voracious shredding in some cereals especially following rape. Many pellets have been applied and there is the continuing reminder about trying to follow the metaldehyde stewardship guidelines as this year will be the biggest threat over non compliance.