North: Planning forward and the state of play

Having survived most of May with winter coats and thermals, a heat wave has spurred crops into life. Lack of rain is a concern, but no doubt as you read this we will have started a new cycle of wet weather.

Cereals 2010 is just around the corner and everybody knows that this leads to two pushes in on farm sales, namely new varieties and fertiliser. For the former I can recommend the HGCA plots at cereals where you will get a good independent view of each variety and the freedom to browse at your leisure.

Main points that my clients look for are a mix of the obvious yield and the not so obvious storage. Disease resistance is a factor, but it should be regarded as a management aid and not relied on as a cure all solution.

Fertiliser prices are always a good topic of conversation at Cereals, as the industry waits for the big players to think of a number. I fear unless it starts with a 1, then early sales will be limited as poor prospects and tight cash flows tighten purse strings.

Having moaned about winter barley last time I will only briefly mention that the final sprays have now been applied and needless to say very few crops received a second growth regulator.

Oilseed rape is now also complete and still looks promising. Late frosts have taken some flowers, but the recent hot weather has seen the crop recover well.

Winter wheat looks well as I am driving by at 50mph. Unfortunately I have to stop and walk into them!

Open canopy’s are still far too common and weed re-growth is going to be an issue. This coupled with the ability of grass weeds to germinate from cracks in the soil is testament to the difficulties that we have controlling pernicious weeds. I am still optimistic about the yield potential, but do not estimate any records.

Linseed is desperate for rain, and weed control programmes are on hold as we assess the risk of crop damage verse’s control. As for the remaining spring drilled crops, they would also benefit from a nice warm rain too.

Perhaps our new coalition of David and Nick would kindly oblige, thank you.

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