West: Late drilled oilseed rape establishes well

Since last writing we have had a predominantly dry period with unseasonably mild temperatures. This has enabled late drilled oilseed rape crops to establish better than they might otherwise have done. There are, however, still some patchy crops around due to our two old friends the slug and the rabbit.

Most rape crops have now been treated with a graminicide to control volunteer cereals and an autumn fungicide for phoma and light leaf spot. With no blackgrass to control, that is the crop put to bed for the winter. It remains to be seen how well these later drilled crops come through the winter, given their relatively small stature.

The earlier drilled winter wheat and barley crops have all emerged well and are looking extremely promising. Given the continued mild conditions, these crops may benefit from a follow up insecticide to support the Deter (clothianidin) seed treatment, which will now be running out. Those crops drilled without Deter seed treatment should have already received an insecticide and should be on the verge of receiving a second treatment.

The dry spell in October has enabled most of the maize crop to be safely harvested (albeit a bit early in maturity in quite a few cases) and has afforded us the opportunity to get the following wheat crops drilled into some really rather good seed-beds for this time of year. The mild spell has meant that soil temperatures have held up higher than usual for this time of year too, leading to these later drilled crops emerging very quickly.

Most crops have received a pre-emergence herbicide and in the absence of any blackgrass are looking pretty clean. The exceptions to this are the crops drilled after oats and beans where the volunteers are requiring attention fairly quickly. The other exception is where brome is a problem and is coming through the pre-em treatments. This weed should be monitored closely and be sprayed before it gets too large. The timing will depend on the weather, when full emergence occurs and how quickly it grows. We are, however, dependent on good daytime temperatures to get good control with the grassweed active sulfonylurea herbicides.

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