South: Seed weevil numbers noticeably high in OSR

Well the dry weather gave way to rain, the warm weather went back cold again and everything slowed up dramatically.

Now the sun’s out again, the rain’s gone away for a while and I expect everything will take advantage of this and race on to catch up.

Earlier this week I looked at a crop of winter wheat, drilled in September, in which leaf two was emerged by about 4cm. On dissecting the plant I found leaf one about 1cm behind. Interesting. I bet the ear is out by the end of the month.

All but the very backward wheats have had a T1 fungicide, a decent dose of triazole with chlorothalonil, mostly including boscalid. The winter barleys have had a T1 fungicide and (where necessary) will be getting an ethephon-type follow up growth regulator that usually includes a herbicide for late mopping up of cleavers etc.

Winter oilseed rape crops have had recommendations for mid-flowering fungicides and in most cases have had an insecticide included, as seed weevil levels have been noticeably high. I’ve tended to go with Maverick as it’s one less thing to think about.

Spring wheats and barleys are growing away merrily on all but the chalkiest of soils, and weed control tickets have gone in, together with a fungicide in spring barley.

I shall be looking out closely for gout fly eggs in the spring wheat. The damage that I was fearing never actually happened when we went back to spring wheat a few years ago.

Having said this, I will never forget the awful memory of devastated crops in the mid noughties where over 90% of ears could be damaged and yield losses were horrendous. Apparently the increasingly common use of (evil!) neonicotinoid seed dressings in the autumn has reduced their numbers without affecting natural predators.cleavers

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