North: Harvest grows nearer

Hot weather has brought harvest ever nearer, with winterbarleys quickly turning gold. Unfortunately, feed barley harvestprices are anything but golden. Pre-harvest glyphosate is beingapplied to even up crops where necessary or where there is a lot ofvolunteer wheat.

The decision to desiccate or swath oilseed rape is upon us, asfew crops are even enough to consider natural ripening. Crops aremuch shorter this year, which will make desiccation more appealing.But, whichever option is chosen, timing will be difficult givensuch uneven crops.

It may be possible to split timings within a field if thedifferences are in clearly defined areas. But where the crop isgenerally uneven it will be a case of working to an overallaverage.

The recent dry weather and high temperatures have stressedpoorly rooted crops and hastened take-all’s appearance, which iseasily seen in many second and third wheats.

Take-all-specific seed treatments have held the disease back,but even in treated crops patches are occurring showing the highdisease levels this year. Seeing such patches is particularlydisheartening considering input costs have been so high.

Cropping plans are being finalised, and for some growers it’s acase of trying to get the rotation back in line after last autumn’sdifficulties.

Of the new wheat varieties Gallant looks a usefulGroup 1 yield improvement. Other new varietiesappear to offer improved agronomic traits; for example, midgeresistance and good standing ability, rather than any significantyield increases.

In oilseed rape there is a huge number of varieties with littleto separate them, so it could be a case of sticking with a varietyif it’s performing well for you.

Good luck for harvest. I hope it’s a lot drier than last yearand that any improved drying systems are needed as little as thenew Centre Court roof was at Wimbledon.

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