South: Cambridge rolls are undervalued

Having had a few very warm days (upto 16C) at the beginning of the month, we’ve now returned to winter and another cold week is forecast at the time of writing.

Autumn drilled crops had started to grow, but all but the most sheltered fields have stopped again.  There are rape crops that still look as we would expect them in October, but other fields are in stem extension with flower buds easily visible. 

Timing of Galera will be very tricky as weeds want to be actively growing but it needs to be on before flower buds start to rise above the canopy. Window of opportunity may only be 3-4 days this year. 

The two photos below show the variation in crops very well, both were taken on the same day about 10 miles apart, both are viable.

Tim Bullock pic 1.jpg

Tim bullock pic 2.jpg

Pigeons and/or deer are still causing problems. Keeping them off crops is vitally important now, if they keep stripping off new growth plants are going to struggle to produce energy that will be needed for growth.  The only saving grace is that they are removing phoma and light leaf spot from some of the crops.Cereals have perked up in the warm spell and most are producing tillers, but this cold weather has stopped them in their tracks. 

 Tiller retention, especially in barley, is going to be key.  Those that had some phosphite with or without trace elements have responded faster than those that didn’t. There are more crops that are due to have some as soon as we can see some active growth. 

Some crops were rolled at the beginning of the month and have responded well, many more are still waiting to be rolled and will, hopefully, pick up rapidly once done. 

Cambridge rolls are still an undervalued management tool, this winter has reminded many just how important they are. I have seen fields where the only established crop is in the wheeling of the quad bike.

There has been alot of cultivations and drilling done in the first half of the month but the rain of last week has stopped that for a few days at least.  There was much land which was still too wet to move before the rain came so that will take longer to dry than some of the lighter land. 

It is only mid March so there is plenty of timing to put spring crops in. I would rather see crops be drilled later than ideal into good warm seed beds than be put in at ideal timings but in poor conditions.  Be patient!

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