South: Cracked soils and hospipe bans are history

As I write the rain is lashing against the back of my house and the forecast says it’s set to continue for the next three days. The heady days of cracked soils and hosepipe bans seem a lifetime away. The thermostat in my sitting room is telling me I really should have my heating on.

The general murmur within the industry is that nobody can remember disease pressure quite like this year. Rusts over the winter giving way to septoria later on, with eyespot and take-all thrown into the mix have certainly given us plenty to think about.

Anybody who was late with their early fungicides or who stretched the gaps will be seeing septoria coming in with vengeance. The new chemistry definitely has added something to the mix, and I look forward to seeing yield results from some of the local fungicide trials we’ve been visiting.

Winter rape crops have generally held up well in the monsoon conditions and some look very promising. As I write there are very few anywhere near dessication timing, so I’m encouraging farmers to hold off with their glyphosate because going in too early simply doesn’t work. You can’t “bring on” a rape crop with glyphosate – it’s simply going to be a late year for oilseed rape. Having said that, if temperatures get up next week it could turn very quickly.

Talking of temperatures, the miserably cold June has not helped crops like linseed on chalk, or maize. I’m looking out my rain-speckled window onto a yellow, sorry, bedraggled crop of maize that has been emerged for eight weeks now and has had everything but the kitchen sink thrown at it to help it on its way, but all it wants is warmth! Hopefully we’ll get that for the second half of July and August. And September.

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