Spud Watch: Wind chill puts the brakes on crop emergence

Checking the weather app on my phone suggests that there is still no end in sight to this unprecedented dry spell of weather.

However, distant memories of 2012 never completely disappear and knowing that Mother Nature usually has a way of equalling things up when it does start to rain, it might not know when to stop.

Crop development in the East has slowed due to cold nights and a very brisk and cold easterly wind off the North Sea.

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Some soil erosion has occurred on lighter soils and reridging will be required, but there is little point until we get moisture.

John Sarup

John Sarup, Spud Agronomy

Some growers have chosen a min-till route this season and I have to say they have produced some of the best seed-beds I have seen, with minimal moisture loss, and good seed-to-soil contact.

The added benefit of straw from the previous crop evenly distributed throughout the ridge profile has in turn helped stabilise the ridge and hold on to moisture.

Decisions regarding herbicide choice and timing are challenging, products containing pendimethalin and prosulfocarb just aren’t going to work in the dry so a focus on the more soluble products – metribuzin, clomazone and metabromuron – are required.

Varying moisture levels in ridges are likely to result in varied emergence and canopy development, so at present I’m not expecting too much competition against already emerged weeds.

I am therefore concentrating on dealing with what is there already in the knowledge that post-emergence applications of Titus (rimsulfuron) may well be required.

Warmer weather in the West, along with a lot more moisture early on has allowed the early planted crops to develop as normal so far, although if it remains dry, canopies will soon remove any remaining soil moisture and without irrigation, may struggle to bulk.