West: Looking forward to harvest’s end

I think farmers and agronomists alike will be glad whenharvest is complete and we can start afresh nextseason.

The recent hot, dry spell has highlighted different soil typesand areas of compaction, as crops have started to burn up inpatches. Subsoilers are at the ready to carry out remedialwork.

The dry spring resulted in relatively low septoria pressure thisyear, with only small differences visible between varioustreatments in fungicide trials. We await results to assess theeconomics of programmes this season to see whether any treatmentsstand out.

A recent visit to TEAGASCin Ireland with a group of farmers was an eye opener, with thedisease having defoliated untreated plots. Given the very highseptoria pressure, their fungicides are under extreme pressure, theresults providing useful pointers for us.

Crop planning meetings with clients have tried to find a balancebetween economics, sustainability, spreading work load, and riskmanagement.

Tightness of winter oilseed rape rotations remains a concern,with disease issues, including verticillium wilt, and problems withcontrolling weeds; for example, charlock and hedge mustard. Thedifficulty is finding another break crop that can compete on grossmargin.

We are starting to think about life without IPU and trifluralin,and feel it will be a case of “you don’t know what you’ve got tillit’s gone”.

Increased reliance on pre-em herbicides will be one option.There will also be more chlorotoluron used, so varietal toleranceto this chemical may be important.

When choosing autumn varieties avoid change for the sake of it.I’d also advise having some of your wheat in an orange blossommidge resistant variety.

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