South: Spring cropping looking like the only option

The snow has melted and has been replaced by rain and wind.  You don’t need to be Einstein to know that fields are far too wet to be able to do anything.  Most fields will need at least a week’s dry weather before any work can be done. 

Soil temperatures are at 1C so even if you could get a sprayer into fields it’s far too cold to hit the grassweeds.  We need soil to be at least 6C for a week and for there to be some active growth showing before using Atlantis/ Pacifica/ Broadway Star or Unite. 

If fields do dry out enough to travel, even if it stays cold then I will be recommending a residual as part of a grassweed programme.  The only way to deliver Flufenacet now is as Firebird (upto full rate) or Liberator (upto half rate), in blackgrass situations that would be my first choice.

Generally cereals are looking ok.  Yes they are way behind where they were this time last year but, managed well, they should yield well. 

Rooting and tiller retention are going to be the key drivers for this season.  I would apply some P-Kursor (phosphite) just before or after the first application of nitrogen, this will help to boost root systems. The more roots a plant has the more nutrients it can take up, and it will reduce lodging risk. 


Although we haven’t got to the latest drilling date for most varieties of wheat, we are very close.  Most land still waiting to be drilled is too wet to do anything so spring cropping is going to be the only option around here.

If you are lucky enough to be able to get winter crops in then seed-bed quality will be the driver.  Don’t maul crops in for the sake of getting a field drilled.

Winter oilseed rape is a very mixed bag at the moment.  Many have shown signs of fresh growth over Christmas/new year.  The snow of last week has had little effect other than making some fields too wet to be able to walk across. 

Some of the bigger charlock has been killed by the frost but much of it was shielded by the snow so still looks very alive.  A few hard frosts would hopefully sort them out as much of the rape is too small to be able to use Fox (bifenox). Broad-leaved weed control is very mixed, those fields that were treated pre-em look very clean but the ones where things were delayed due to the weather are not looking their best.  I think there will be alot of ‘dirty’ crops come harvest. 

Phoma and light leaf spot levels are lower than expected at the moment, but disease can be found in places.  Most of my crops had some Capitan in the autumn, but even those that didn’t are cleaner than I would have expected.  These crops will need attention asap. 

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