West: Another good year for beans

Since my last report, we have been dry, apart from oneday with light drizzle. This led to a satisfactory conclusion tothe harvest for many, with little or no need to dry grain. The factthat at no stage in the summer did we run short of moisture has ledto another good year for the bean crop, with several crops comingin at well over 5 t/ha.

The dry spell has allowed a rapid turnaround into new cropplantings. Although we have been dry, there has been sufficientmoisture in the seed-beds to allow germination and the rape cropshave emerged with little or no slug activity.

Many rape crops now have a bigger green area index than thecorresponding crop of last year had in March. Pre-emergenceherbicides appear to be working well despite the dryconditions.

Cereal volunteers will need to be removed fairly quickly. Thereis concern a further flush will appear after we have rain. Unlessthe rain comes soon, this is a risk we will have to take as thevolunteers will soon become too competitive.

Thoughts will soon turn to early phoma control. We will bemonitoring the phoma forecasts with interest.

The first of the wheat crops are just emerging at the time ofwriting, most having received a pre-emergence herbicide targetingeither annual meadow grass and broad-leaved weed or brome andbroad-leaved weed. At the moment it is too early to say whetherthese treatments have been effective or not.

Varietal choice for the wheats has been interesting this autumnwith many growers electing to grow slightly lower yieldingvarieties that offer good disease resistance, particularly toSeptoria tritici, rather than the headline varieties on theHGA list.

We have experienced strong sales of Sahara, Gatsby and Lear andon the lighter thinner soils Deben is still much in demand.

Einstein has sold well into the second wheat slot, where it hasa proven track record in this part of the world.

The maize crop is rapidly approaching point of harvest forforage. Those crops planted for grain are looking promising at themoment, but are still obviously a month or so away from harvest.The crop has grown well this year and there are going to be somebig yields, but the wet July and August have meant that harvest islater than most growers would like to see.

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