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Very close up shot of wheat crop ears in field

Report: 20 December 2010 (for week beginning 13 December 2010)

Report compiled by Farming Online from reports received from members of the Association of Independent Crop Consultants

We review the state of the winter crops after a particularly harsh cold spell with more to follow:

Soil Protection Review: Remember that the format has changed this year, and under cross-compliance you are required to complete the form by 31st December 2010. Farmers risk losing 5% of their SFP if they fail to complete the review on time. Click here to download a copy

Winter Oilseed Rape

image from FoL

Cold snap puts crops
on hold.
Photo Farming Online.

South East: Crops range from 5 to 6-8+ true leaves. The bulk of crops are now around 5-6+ true leaves. Cold conditions of last 3 weeks has knocked crops back, but no concerns regarding crop loss as yet as snow cover only gone in last 5 days or so.

South West: Even later sowings have up to 6 leaves so are well placed to tolerate the colder weather. Earlier drillings have lost old leaf in the frost. Large flocks of pigeons are now active across the region which have defoliated field corners near woodland.

Eastern Counties: Most early sown crops have really good ground cover with large leaves although now losing outside leaves. The slightly later drilled crops look 'just right' not too forward sitting close to the ground and plants large enough to survive the winter. However, late drilled crops are likely to suffer high levels of winter kill where they are backwards going into the winter. Many late drilled were subsequently slow in establishing, with limited root growth, and are showing significant symptoms of waterlogging and seasonal nitrogen deficiency, evident in chlorosis and necrosis of older leaves. Some late drilled crops are still to receive an autumn phoma treatment. Small, thinly established crops will be most susceptible to pest and vermin damage in the next 2-3 months.

East Midlands: All crops are looking OK at the moment even later ones look fine. The main worry now will be if we get frosty weather without any snow cover, when pigeons will be a problem.

West Midlands: Many crops have good ground cover and the only obvious sign of the recent frost is loss of outer leaves. Most later sown crops managed to put on enough leaf before the mercury dropped and have produced a big enough plant to survive. Late sown crops, which fortunately there are few, are not enjoying the frost and it is possible these crops will not survive the winter particularly if the pigeons find them too.

North East: All crops were drilled in good conditions and were well established before the wintry weather started. Crops that had full ground cover have opened up now as leaf stems have been broken by the weight of the snow. Also, frosty conditions seem to make plants more erect and allow better spray penetration to get herbicides directly onto the ground.

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Winter Wheat

South East: The earliest sown crops of Claire, Scout and Solstice now at two tiller stage whilst later sown crops range from one to three leaf stage. There has been no real growth for nearly three weeks now as ground has been almost permanently frozen or snow covered - slightly concerned that frost heave may damage later sown wheats, particularly those on chalks and lighter soils.

South West: All emerged wheats now three leaves to tillering. Some late crops were power harrow drilled into fresh ploughing before the worst of the frost, however these are yet to emerge. Some crops have been paled by herbicides but are generally recovering well. Opportunities taken to apply P and K on frozen ground.

Eastern Counties: Early sown: Crops at the early tillering stage and are generally in good condition. Both mildew and Septoria tritici are evident at low levels in susceptible varieties. Some leaf area has been lost through mildew pressure followed by frost. Winter losses are not likely to be of any concern in these crops.
Conventionally sown: Crops at the three leaf stage. Crops are variable, often reflecting variable drilling conditions, soil structure and soil type. In some instances of poor soil structure and particularly on heavy soils manganese and nitrogen deficiencies have been exacerbated, with plants displaying severe symptoms. In many cases BYDV treatments are still outstanding. Winter losses, particularly from frost lift are only likely to be of concern in very small and backward crops.
Late sown: Drilling of winter wheat is continuing behind sugar beet in some cases. Many late drilled crops are thin, often with patchy emergence. Small plants (1-2 leaves) are showing visible symptoms of water-logging, manganese and nitrogen deficiency. Probable medium-high winter losses are expected, particularly from frost lift.

East Midlands: Early sown wheat crops are dealing with the cold snap apart form looking a bit pale in places but no major problems. Later sown wheat generally looking fine but sitting still at the one leaf stage. Our experience of crops like this last year showed they came through fine when weather warmed up in spring. No signs of any frost lift but no real capping on soils.

West Midlands: The early sown crops are now tillering and show little signs of any frost damage. Later sown crops at the one to two leaf stage are also coping with the low temperatures although there are some signs of frost scorch on exposed fields. The last sown are still to emerge which is probably the safest place to be right now.

North East: Crops were drilled in two stages as operations were stopped by heavy rain. All early sown crops have emerged from the snow with good colour, but some of the later drilled ones look severely stressed and have lost nearly all colour. Some of this is due to the cold they have just endured, but now it is the sodden state of the seedbeds.

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Winter Barley

South East: Crops mainly at the early tillering stage with no signs of any crop damage so far.

South West: Forward barley crops have had old leaves knocked about by frost and grass weed herbicides but the growing parts of the plant are green and healthy.

Eastern Counties: Early sown: Up to GS 2.5. Crops are generally in a good condition at the end of the autumn and able to withstand the poor conditions. Both net blotch and mildew were evident in forward crops and susceptible varieties, and have been treated with an appropriate morpholine in light land situations. Crops are likely to emerge from the winter without any significant detrimental winter losses.
Conventionally sown: GS 1.3-2.1. Crops are variable, often reflecting variable drilling conditions, soil structure and soil type. In some instances of poor soil structure and particularly on heavy soils manganese and nitrogen deficiencies have been exacerbated, with plants displaying severe symptoms. Winter losses may be a concern in some small and backward crops.
Late sown: Few crops were 'late sown', with most crops at the stages discussed above. Late drilled crops are displaying typical symptoms of patchy emergence and seasonal nitrogen and manganese deficiency, exacerbated by the cold and waterlogged conditions. Probable medium-high winter losses, particularly from frost lift are forecast in these crops. Few, if any herbicides or insecticides have been applied in these situations.

West Midlands: As with the wheats these crops have stood up to the cold so far but some crops are proving irresistible to rabbits with little chance of recovering with continued frost.

North East: Crops are well tillered and appear to have survived the wintry conditions very well.

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Winter Oats

South East: Crops range between three and four leaf stage and concern that frost heave could be a problem for later sown crops with low biomass.

Eastern Counties: Early sown: Up to GS 2.5. Crops are generally in a good condition and able to withstand the poor conditions. These crops are likely to emerge from the winter without any significant detrimental winter losses.
Conventionally sown: GS 1.3-2.1. Crops are variable, often reflecting variable drilling conditions, soil structure and soil type. In some instances of poor soil structure and particularly on heavy soils manganese and nitrogen deficiencies have been exacerbated, with plants displaying severe symptoms. In many cases, although not all (C65%) pre-emergence herbicides have been applied. Winter losses may be a concern in some small and backward crops.
Late sown: Few crops were 'late sown', with most crops at the stages discussed above. Late drilled crops are displaying typical symptoms of patchy emergence and seasonal nitrogen and manganese deficiency, exacerbated by the cold and waterlogged conditions. High winter losses, particularly from frost lift are forecast in these crops. Few, if any herbicides or insecticides have been applied in these situations.

West Midlands: So far so good with no signs of frost damage even on naked oats.

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Crop Report compiled by Farming Online from reports received from members of the Association of Independent Crop Consultants.

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