West: Cold weather brings benefits

The weather took a dramatic change for the worse over the weekend with two inches of snow on Friday/Saturday, along with temperatures dropping to -11C last night. The forecast is to stay as is for the remainder of this week at least.

But I can’t complain as the autumn has been generally very kind to us over here in the west. The cold weather will sort out any remaining aphids and will help to slow down/stop growth of the early sown-crops.

All planned winter barley acreage has been drilled and sprayed. Some was inished off last week on the later sowings. Crops generally look well with most forward at GS24.

All planned winter wheat has been drilled, apart from 80 acres of heavy land second wheat that we may get done whilst the conditions stay cold. All wheat has had a residual product bar 300 acres, which is a big achievement by my clients.

Most blackgrass fields have had a follow up with Atlantis (mesosulfuron + iodosulfuron). Most forward crops are now at GS26 and mildew was evident on quite a few varieties. However, this will not be a concern from now on.

Residual herbicides have worked very well in terms of annual meadow grass and rye grass control. With the amount of residual product applied I am hoping this will allow me to use a reasonable amount of pyroxsulam in the spring for brome and broadleaved weed control.

In terms of the oilseed crop the weather this week could not have arrived at a better time as the forward crops had far to much ground cover to allow effective soil coverage with grass weed residuals.

With temperatures down to -11C last night and frost for the rest of the week we should hopefully be able to apply products to most crops next week. We just need temperatures to increase and the ground to thaw to allow the chemical to come out of the sprayer and avoid any run issues if we get a rapid thaw/heavy rain.

Early-sown crops were at seven to eight true leaves and before the frost were up to the top of my wellies. Later-sown crops are at four true leaves and looking unhappy with life. We have seen a huge difference in the rate of growth this autumn where sowing dates have ranged from 18 August through to 8 September with the later crops never really getting going.

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