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Very close up shot of wheat crop ears in field

Report: 21 January 2011 (for week beginning 17 January 2011)

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

This first report of the new year: reveals little damage to crops from winter kill although some winter oat crops have suffered from frost lift.
Larger crops of oilseed rape seem to have caught the frosts more than smaller crops or dwarf varieties. Damage to bigger crops probably due to secondary rots setting in.

Too cold for follow up blackgrass sprays in cereals.
Still time for soil acting herbicides in oilseed rape.
Stem cracking in winter rape.

Winter Oilseed Rape

image from FoL

Stem cracking as a result
of frost damage with
rotting of leaf stem.
Photo Farming Online.

South East: 5 leaves to 6-8+ true leaves with the bulk of crops around 6-8+ true leaves. The cold conditions of December have knocked crops back, but no concerns regarding crop loss and in the last week there are signs of new growth as the days pull out and some milder weather.

Phoma: still very little new infection (<10%) seen to date on the top 4-5 leaves in most crops, so second Phoma spray decisions only likely to be needed on the smaller and more backward crops, unless the weather turns much milder in the rest of January/February.

Weed control: fields with blackgrass survivors have mostly had treatments applied in mid-December the remaining fields are to be treated next week. Control from December applied treatments already looking hopeful with typical bulb like stem bases appearing now.

South West: Lower leaves have been lost in the frost, however crops generally look green and healthy. We have not seen the winter kill reported further north. Dwarf hybrids with their leaves and growing point close to the ground appear to have come through the big freeze extremely well. Good establishment conditions means that the bulk of the crops inspected have excellent root systems. Pigeon damage still sporadic with no large flocks in evidence.

Phoma: little further development seen. Infection is generally confined to the older leaves.

Weed control: charlock has been hit by the frost.

Eastern Counties: Crops have fared really well over winter. Generally rape was well established and we had few backward crops. With snow cover to help there has been loss of outer leaves but no severe frost problems. Pigeons being kept on the move, as crops have 'opened up' but flocks are moving in.

Phoma: no new infections.

Weed control: generally applied before cold spell although some applied more recently. Slow to show symptoms.

East Midlands: No winter kill to report (Sesame, DK Cabernet, Flash, Excalibur, Vision, Castille and Compass all look OK) but rumours of some crops in Warwickshire have had some kill with plant loss and centre plant rotting. I am told it is one variety that is affected more than others but so far have been unable to find which variety has suffered most.

Phoma: no new Phoma seen.

Weed control: looks to be working with the typical 'spring onion' affect to blackgrass stem bases.

West Midlands: So far have not found any dead crops, large pre Christmas crops have suffered more than the small crops with virtually all leaves frozen off (a bit whiffy in some fields!), but all central growing points seem fine.

Phoma: no signs of re-infection following earlier control.

Weed control: to be applied as soon as conditions allow, crops now open enough for the product to get on to the soil. Large charlock has been controlled by the frost but any smaller plants closer to the ground have survived.

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Winter Wheat

image from FoL

High tiller numbers in
early sown crops.
Photo Farming Online.

South East: Not much growth for nearly 6 weeks now due to cold conditions in December, although wheats have coloured up in response to some recent milder days and nights. Frost heave evident on chalks and will want rolling when dry enough in February. Around 80 acres of early November sown wheat on wettish medium soil has rotted due to combination of sustained wet and cold after drilling and will need re-drilling. All heavier ground has standing water after 4 inches of rain in January so far - all fields too wet and sticky to travel at present

Weed control: Around 60-70% of fields with emerged blackgrass were sprayed between the middle and end of November and despite subsequent cold conditions control at this stage is looking hopeful. All unsprayed fields will now have to wait until milder conditions return and weed growth resumes hopefully sometime in February.

South West: Crops have come through the cold period well, greening up and gaining leaf in the recent mild spell. The only crops to have suffered significantly are those in Mn susceptible situations. Very forward crops have lost a number of diseased older leaves and look greener then previously. No significant varietal differences in tolerance of the hard conditions. Weed growth has been minimal over December and early January. Shallow rooted blackgrass looks in worse condition than before the cold set in. It is likely that residual herbicides have persisted longer in the freezing temperatures therefore, we look forward to good control opportunities when the days lengthen and weather improves.

Mildew: development on early sown Claire and Humber has been stopped by the frost.

Weed control: where treatment was applied before the weather turned cold control has been very good. Unlikely that any more treatment will take place before the early spring.

Eastern Counties: Drilling complete in most instances except behind beet. The early sown crops are now at mid tillering. 30mm of rain in the last week has rendered field conditions impassable.

Weed control: some blackgrass now at three leaf stage where no pre-emergence has been applied.

East Midlands: Fields wet and sticky and no real chance of fieldwork. Wheat crops have come through the cold OK, with no signs of any problems, apart from some loss of greening but this is coming back now with some (slightly) milder temperatures.

Weed control: some crops still very clean after pre-emergence herbicides.

West Midlands: Early drilled Grafton is very thick with as many as 8 tillers per plant. All crops sown just prior to the winter shutdown have popped through during the slightly milder spell over the last couple of weeks. Some crop scorch visible due to conditions but as yet no crops lost. Very sticky but not too wet, a couple of dry weeks should allow some field work to go ahead.

Weed control: some treatments went on before the big chill but too early to say what results will be.

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Winter Barley

South East: Growth stages range from GS 21-22, little growth since November due to cold weather.

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: Crops range from yet to emerge through to early tillering. Traces of net-blotch present in early drilled crops particularly Casatta, Pearl and second barley crops.

East Midlands: Crops range from GS 13-14 and growth now slowing down. No diseases present yet.

West Midlands: Most forward crops at early tillering and remain free of disease with the exception of Maris Otter. Mildew and Rhynchosporium present in these crops.

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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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