North: Variable oilseed rape growth stages

Fairly reasonable weather in the past four weeks has allowed a lot of catching up to take place. Most fields have been cleared, although I have seen the odd field of spring barley or oats still to cut.


Potato harvesting goes on apace, lifting conditions in general being okay, with yield and quality promising an optimistic out-turn.


Oilseed rape crops have established well, but growth stages are variable dependant on drilling date. As always there is a marked difference between those sown in August as opposed to the first week of September. Early sown crops look as if they may need slowing up before winter sets in.


Slugs are proving to be a menace in later sown crops and pellets have to be applied with heed being taken of the restrictions on metaldehyde-based products.

Good establishment conditions for the crop has meant the same for volunteer cereals so a graminicide follow up may have been required to pre or early post emergence herbicide applications with an insecticide for stem weevil. So far there is no sign of disease.


Varieties have generally been selected for light leaf spot resistance. However, they will all probably receive a fungicide in the autumn, as trials up here generally show an economic response to a spray before the turn of the year almost regardless of product selection. Products containing tebuconazole or metconazole may be required if growth regulation of forward crops is deemed necessary.


Seedbed conditions for winter barley and early sown wheat have been favourable and establishment percentages are high. There is sufficient moisture in the soil for residual herbicides to work well. Where potatoes have been lifted dry, there is an opportunity for similarly good establishment of more wheat.

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