North: Good rooting is key

September has been a month of contrasting weather startto finish. During the first week we had around 75mm of rain in 36hours, and many fields of oilseed rape drilled just before thatrain have suffered from soil slumping and capping.

Since then we’ve had no further rain, so many fieldshave plants which are struggling and in need of softer surfaceconditions. Many crops have yet to receive a herbicide as soils areeither capped and few weeds have emerged, or conditions have notbeen conducive to spraying.We have had moderate winds for the past couple of weeksmaking spraying impossible and also sucking away moisture.

We haveheld back from applying metazachor-based products but will get iton once moisture is assured to arrive.Cereal drilling is well under way. On lighter soilswheats after white crops will need more careful managementthroughout the season. Good rooting is key so to start with andmake sure you know the P and K status. Splitting the P and Kbetween autumn and spring will help ensure best use. Target thosefields for good grassweed control.

It’s too dry for pre-emergence herbicides so it is bestto wait until early post-emergence – a flufenacet product anddiflufenican (DFF) or Defy (prosulfocarb) and DFF are suitablechoices.Non-ploughed land has carried harvest machinery muchbetter and seedbed preparation is well under way. Soils movedimmediately behind the combine are showing a good chit ofvolunteers and grassweeds – we just need a calmer day to glyphosatethem and drill.

Those cultivated in the last half of September are a bitdry and re-growth is slow.Slugs have never been far away this year and justbecause it’s dry on the surface don’t get complacent. Place trapson areas where damage is expected so when moisture returns you caneasily assess population thresholds.

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