West: Dry at last

The recent prolonged dry spell has allowed good progress with fieldwork, but how long before we are saying we need some rain!

Its important not to force spring crop seed-beds, and in many cases previously ploughed or cultivated soil has had to be ‘moved’ to dry it out.  That said where spring beans and spring barley has been planted seed-beds look good.

Spring beans will receive a robust pre-em, as post-em options are limited, expensive and un-reliable.  Avadex (tri-allate) is being used pre-em on some spring barley fields where we have bad black-grass.  With both these pre-em treatments we are dependant on some moisture before too long to achieve reasonable activity.

Some autumn sown winter barley and wheat crops have suffered frost lift, especially on thin chalks.  The worst affected fields will be rolled.  Unsually there is also some fields of rape where frost lift is also evident.

Over the last 10 days some nitrogen has been applied to the majorityof 2nd wheat crops, winter barley, backward rape crops and thin firstwheats.  The cold and dry conditions mean as yet crops have notrepsonded to these applications.

We continue to wait for the right conditions for Atlantisapplications.  In the meantime black-grass has continued to grow, andwe are going to have our ‘work cut out’ to achieve high levels ofcontrol.  As soon as conditions are right the first opportunity toapply must be taken.

All the ‘hype’ about yellow rust seems to have temporarily subsided,but I am sure will resume when it does warm up a bit!  Crops will betreated with a T0 according to risk, which includes a number offactors, and will be assessed on a field by field basis.

Some rape crops are receiving their final graminicide, to tidy upany remaining volunteer cereals.  In very occasional crops light leafspot has been found, so careful monitoring is ongoing.

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