North: Situation 1000% better than last year

I’ve told my growers that this last two months is what East Anglian farmers have every year: heaven. We’ve gone from thinking that harvest would not start until September, to being virtually finished in August and then drilled-up in September. We aren’t there quite yet, but are probably 70% complete and its 1000% better than last year.

Oilseed rape area is well down, 60% of normal and only 40% of the peak two seasons ago. Many of the reasons are rotation, but economics is part of it. All crops that we do have are good and many are excellent. Weed control was mostly post-emergence and again was mostly good. We’ve followed up on a couple with bifenox (under an EAMU) already. Our biggest concern is insect damage; cabbage root fly is evident in most crops and we’re treating with insecticide repeatedly. Aphids carrying virus and turnip sawfly are also real problems; all with the same solution. This is just training for next year when the neonicotinoid ban comes in; crops will instead be treated multiple times until frosty autumn weather eventually takes over – well done you greens.

Cereals have leapt out of the ground and we are following up quickly with herbicide/insecticide mixes. Very few were treated pre-emergence, as there’s little need to since we don’t have any blackgrass to worry about. However, we’re full on with cypermethrin doses for the crops without Deter (clothianidin) dressing since the BYDV risk from aphids is massive – and there are plenty of gout fly also. I can see that all September sowings are going to be treated twice, unless Deter treated, in which case just once should do. However, don’t expect Deter to last five weeks in these warm conditions; don’t bank on more than three.

Maize harvest starts in earnest this week and potatoes are progressing well, so we stand a good chance of getting drilled-up after these crops as well.  Aim to get at least one herbicide dose on all crops sown in October, weather conditions allowing. Post-em will mostly be best, but Deter-treated crops can have a pre-em dose and are then safe for now. You could be worked-up by month-end. Book your holidays now.

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