South: Field work at a standstill

The recent spell of wet weather has brought activity out in the field to a complete standstill and soils are as wet now as at any time since drilling last autumn. I have temporarily abandoned the quad, but trying to walk round heavy land at the moment with wellies with 10kg of mud stuck on them is not my favourite occupation.

Winter bean crops have been very slow to emerge this year, the arctic conditions last December really slowing them down. Thankfully, it was relatively dry so little seed has rotted and now temperatures have improved they are slowly moving. Despite the slow start plant populations seem good.

Oilseed rape crops look well, and most of the phoma has now been controlled. The range in canopy size is huge and the more forward crops are probably only a week or so off the flower buds visible stage. Some of these require an application of Galera (clopyralid + picloram), which really needs warm conditions to work well. It will be quite a challenge to get these applications on before the flower buds become visible.

First wheat crops look very well, almost too well, and crops drilled early following oilseed rape look far too advanced at the moment, visually showing the higher-than-average soil reserves of nitrogen than analysis is confirming.

These crops will not need an early split of nitrogen at all and savings in total dose should be possible. Precious little Atlantis went on last autumn, but most of what did has worked well. However, in some treated fields it seems to have done nothing and resistance is almost certainly the cause.

Spring treatments are now on farm awaiting an improvement in temperatures and travelling conditions. T0 and growth regulator applications are likely to go on in the third week of March. Lets hope we can get the Atlantis on before then to simplify tank mixes and avoid any efficacy problems.

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