South: Blackgrass and wild oats need controlling

Having been away for a couple of weeks, the biggest difference I have seen on my return is the fact that you can actually travel over the ground. What a difference a bit of dry weather makes. Outstanding spray tickets have been wrapped up, fertiliser has been applied, and spring drilling is well under way.


Wheats are beginning to wake up properly now with quite a few crops at GS30, although I’ve not seen any at GS31 so I’m not rushing in with plant growth regulators and T0s just yet. I shall continue with my policy of robust sprays at T0 and T1, keeping triazole rates relatively high, with the opportunity of cutting back later should the season allow.


It’s very tempting to let the safety net of high grain prices turn into a licence to spend money for the sake of it, but being fundamentally a skinflint by character I shall try not to let that happen. Also being a contrary, cussed creature who pathologically has to go against media hype I shouldn’t find it too difficult.

Spring-germinating wild oats and blackgrass are beginning to show themselves and there is a flush of broad-leaved weeds in bare and worked ground. I can’t over-emphasise the importance of using glyphosate in these situations to clean up pre-drilling. Trying to chase emerged weeds in crops like spring beans and peas is a hiding to nothing.


This follows on nicely to the pre-emergence sprays and my maxim is if the weather is so catchy that you don’t think you’re going to be able to spray it at pre-emergence, then don’t drill it.


The next task on winter oilseed rape will be a stem-extension/early yellow bud fungicide. For some crops that might be some time away as there are some big fat pigeons in our neck of the woods.

See more