West: Weather continues to play its part in 2012

With October a week old (at time of writing) we have already had in excess of 150mm of rain in much of the region. Combining is almost complete but there are still some bean crops left to cut. Gaining access to these fields with a combine is likely to be a tricky experience at the least, as most fields have now exceeded their water carrying capacity.

Winter oilseed rape crops that have mostly been late drilled are establishing very slowly as we have already experienced some pretty cold nights. It would appear at the moment that slugs, whilst in evidence, are not proving to be any more of a problem than in previous seasons.

Any crop drilled without nitrogen in the seed-bed will recieve 30-40 kg/ha now as a matter of urgency, in order to try and accelerate the establishment process. With the weather being wet we are likely to see an early start to phoma infections. With nearly all crops being small and therefore more vulnerable to phoma, an early start to autumn phoma fungicide applications is likely to pay dividends.

Cereal planting has started, but in most areas is very far from completion and with fields as wet as they are at the moment a period of more than 24 or 48 hours without rain is going to be needed if drills are going to get back into fields at all. The earliest planted crops are just emerging at present, so there is little to report other than emergence appears to be even, suggesting that slugs have not been an issue in these fields.

Cereal seed availability continues to be an issue. I would urge anyone who thinks they might have a seed requirement this autumn, but has not ordered any to do so urgently or risk not getting what you want.

I truly hope that by the time I write next month that the weather will have improved and that my report will be a bit more encouraging than this one.

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