South: About time we had an easy autumn

“We’ve been owed it” is a comment I’ve heard quite a lot recently. “It’s about time we had an easy autumn”. And in comparison to last year, it’s been an absolute doddle. Crops have gone in to superb seed-beds, late crops such as maize and potatoes have been harvested with minimal damage to the soil, and spraying opportunities for pre-emergence herbicides have been plenty.

The warm soil and air temperatures and enough moisture have meant crops have raced through the ground. Slug damage has been minimal in comparison to last year and where I have seen damage it has very quickly recovered. The wheat is growing quicker than the slugs have grazed it. I’ve seen a bit of herbicide effect where it’s picked up a bit of the residuals in places, but I’m not worried about it. Very rarely have I seen autumn crop effect manifest itself into yield reduction the following summer.

Although the crops have slowed a bit now, they’re still very “soft” and I’m expecting to see more crop effect from post-emergence sprays, but again I’m not too bothered about it. All I would say is that if a severe frost or drop in temperature is expected, (which at this time of year is normally associated with high pressure and therefore good spraying days) it’s worth waiting until after the crop has had a chance to harden off.

I like to see winter oilseed rape crops big enough to wash my boots by the end of October. I don’t think I have any that won’t and some of them will be washing my knees. As far as I’m concerned, that’s a nice problem to have. None of this daft growth regulation business for me.

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