North: Rain thwarts progress in Lancashire

Fine sowing conditions for many in the North West, with plenty of moisture for good establishment, has seen most farmers finish sowing and some are sprayed-up already.

Most of Cheshire has never stopped and most of the drilling that’s left is after maize and potatoes. Further north, the picture isn’t so rosy. Growers in Lancashire who were delayed with harvest are suffering the knock-on effect of delayed sowing, as it’s been too wet in the last fortnight and more rain is coming now.

The hidden menace for most is insect pests – cabbage root fly on OSR and aphids carrying BYDV on cereals.

Many rape crops have now had three doses of insecticide and we’re lining up the last now with a dose of fungicide and boron – essential on most of our soils since deficiency is already obvious on forward crops with six or more leaves. Sandy soils will receive boron in both autumn and again in spring, while heavier soils will be treated once.

Disease control is as much about sclerotinia and light leaf spot as phoma, so we’re pleased to still have the use of carbendazim this season.

On cereals, all non-Deter-treated crops are getting cypermethrin within 10 days of emergence and most earlier sown crops are coming up for the second.

Aphids can be found easily and we’ll make sure all Deter crops still receive a late aphicide as well, since we know the seed dressing will wear off quickly in these warm conditions and leafy top growth – not the five weeks as claimed.

The warmth has also been great for weed growth so there’s no respite with herbicides. Early-sown cereals are set to receive a top-up to their dose to make sure we nail the grassweeds. Choice of spring herbicides depends largely on how well we control the them now.

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