A severe lack of soil moisture is causing major worries for growers with huge areas of parched crops either stunted by prolonged arid conditions or choked off altogether.
Crops in East Anglia, the South-East and parts of the Midlands have been hit hardest by limited rainfall since September.
Last week a survey of AICC agronomists revealed that a staggering 9% of oilseed rape across 18 English counties is thought to have been written off by drought.
Hertfordshire, Essex and Bedfordshire are among the counties where crop establishment has been worst affected by dry soils.
|County||% crop lost to dry conditions|
Hampshire-based agronomist Sam Deane says the drought has turned ploughed land rock solid.
Very dry in Essex atm. Anyone stopped drilling wheat due to dry ? Ploughed land set like a brick pic.twitter.com/j9I3v0008q
— Samuel Deane (@ArableSam) October 5, 2016
Harry Mouland says it has been so dry in his part of Essex that he’s only just been able to spray off his first blackgrass chit of the autumn and is now hoping for rain.
— Harry Mouland (@Farmer_Mooo) November 2, 2016
Essex grower and NFU vice-president Guy Smith uses the hashtag #essexdesert to describe the arid conditions. His August drilled oilseed rape has failed to establish as a result.
— Guy Smith (@essexpeasant) October 15, 2016
Ian Lutey adds that blackgrass is still emerging despite the drought.
— Ian Lutey (@FarmerLutey) October 14, 2016
Yorkshire grower David Blacker is also concerned about winter beans being drilled into dry seed-beds.
1st Nov drilling beans into dry clay with the air conditioning on 😳 pic.twitter.com/fuPlfn5TUa
— David Blacker (@blacker_david) November 1, 2016
The effectiveness of pre-emergence herbicides is also taking a knock in some areas.
— S&P Farming (@StruttsFarming) October 26, 2016
Seed germination and crop establishment has been badly impacted in areas of Kent, Surrey and Sussex.
— TAP (@TAPAgronomy) October 25, 2016
Cambridgeshire grower Kevin Hull is one of many growers who has had to write off oilseed rape crops and redrill.
— kevin hull (@zorchman) October 17, 2016
In Thriplow, Cambridgeshire, David Walston reports dry soils, even at depth.
Soil still very dry below 2" pic.twitter.com/wzzd6Gt6yE
— David Walston (@OOOfarmer) October 3, 2016
Fellow Cambridgeshire grower Russell McKenzie finished his wheat drilling campaign in a cloud of dust.
Last field of wheat drilling this autumn, is this really the end of October? Shirt sleeves & dust, bonkers! pic.twitter.com/pWhLmOn1Bl
— Russell McKenzie (@russbmckenzie) October 31, 2016
Even in the typically wetter west, Dorset and Wiltshire-based agronomist Todd Jex says crops needed rain, although this has encouraged another flush of blackgrass.
— Todd Jex (@Agronomist_Todd) October 29, 2016