South: Crops holding up despite downpours

I ended my last Crop Watch on the 1st of this month by saying I suspected we were in for payback for the dry weather we had been having.

A client of mine who is a regular contributor to FW told me this morning that 230mm so far this month has already become the wettest month in the 19 years he has been in residence at Flindt Towers. He’s just very grateful (and so am I) that all his crops are drilled and all the important ones have had their residual herbicide.

Few people have turned a wheel in the last 3 weeks. Having said that, few crops are struggling and those that were earlier drilled (and therefore more important for spraying) have had their treatments anyway. Also the rain is falling onto well structured soils and not onto crops that have been “pugged in” so I don’t think it will take too long without rain before a lot of these fields will travel anyway.

I follow with great interest the growth regulator debate on winter oilseed rape crops in the autumn. It always amuses me that we panic if a crop is going to be backwards and bung nitrogen on, and then panic if it’s too forward and try and hold it back.

As far as I’mconcerned a crop that is so large and forward that we’re worried aboutcontact sprays hitting the target is not a bad problem to have.

I know last year thecrops compensated fantastically and ended up with reasonable yields butquite frankly in February and March I’d rather be thinking about aCaribbean holiday than whether or not to plough in rape crops.

The great discussions about spring break crops linger on. If I couldguarantee £325/tonne for a crop of linseed that yielded a minimum of2.25t/ha the answer would be simple. I love the crop. Trouble is Ican’t guarantee either of the above (why can’t we get the yields weused to?) but the price is creeping in the right direction.

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