East: Wobbly optimism

Looking at many of the previous blogs it really is more of the same. The “how late can I….” question just keeps on. We have just experienced three days of no rain and drills are moving, albeit with varying degrees of success. Yes, wheat can carry on being drilled for another two months with most varieties, particularly in light of the price being quoted for next years harvest but, many factors need to be considered to achieve a reasonable yield with current conditions.

Pre-emergence weed control is proving difficult with the later drillings because of the inadequate soil coverage and slugs (those rare creatures!) are still proving a nuisance on emerging crops. I have recently emerged barley at one true leaf stage that is behaving like a magnet for these pests, even though the land has lakes on it (they don’t need water wings by the way).

Phoma has not increased significantly though there should be every effort to get a treatment on especially where the oilseed rape is very small and the leaves have lesions on them.

I am taking a fairly pragmatic approach to rape crops that, though small,
have good plant numbers, based on former experiences. This will lead to
the use of root stimulants that have in the past kept the rootstock
through the winter and in one case led to the best yield the customer
had. True pest levels were low and the spring reasonably kind but I
still believe in some of these crops.

At least the aphid situation is better than last year so far.

Reports from some clients are showing some very respectable sugar
beet returns, with some sugars up at 19%, which considering the lack of
sunshine this year is quite surprising. Heavy land beet of course though
coming out is leading to some ugly soil conditions which will  not help
with trying to get wheat in.

So, as I say, wobbly optimism.

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