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Very close up shot of wheat crop ears in field

Report: 29 September 2011 (for week beginning 19 September 2011)

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

: Rainfall or lack of it is slowing development of oilseed rape crops in some regions but some crops are now big enough to warrant growth regulator treatment. Drilling of winter wheat has continued at a pace and some farms are drilled up. However, lack of rainfall is causing concern in some eastern and western counties with reports of drilling now stopped as they await some rain. Unsurprisingly slugs are pretty inactive at the moment.

Winter Oilseed Rape

image from FoL

Crop with varied growth stage

South East: Crops range from cotyledon to 4 true leaves with the bulk of crops now around 2 true leaf. Main Varieties being grown are ES Alienor, Vision, Ovation, DK Camelot and DK Expower.

Flea beetle: Shot holing of cotyledons quite widespread.

Slugs: Good seedbeds and dry soils have minimized problems to date.

Turnip sawfly: no larvae seen as yet.

Phoma: none seen.

South West: Crops range from cotyledon to 4 true leaves. Some crops are massive especially following chicken manure. Main varieties being grown are DK Cabernet and Vision representing about 60% of the area, 20% of the crop is in dwarf varieties.

Flea beetle: very little damage seen.

Slugs: extremely localised and not a major problem.

Turnip sawfly: no damage seen.

Phoma: none seen.

Eastern Counties: Rape growing rapidly, some now 6 true leaves. Just an occasional field has slumped due to cultivation close to heavy rain in late August and this has affected the vigour of the crop. Re-drilled rape is just emerging. Two doses of 10mm rain this week and warm conditions have been excellent for growth and herbicide activity. Conditions have been ideal for herbicide activity and at the moment weed control looks good. Some very small emerged weeds are even succumbing. Graminicides working well and rapidly on cereal volunteers. Brome has also been sprayed. Main varieties grown this year are DK Cabernet, DK Camelot, Sesame, Vision and PR 46W21.

Flea beetle: damage only seen where untreated seed has been used.

Slugs: some fields have been treated once but more recently slug activity has diminished in the dry and windy surface conditions. Generally seedbeds are good and rape has established quickly meaning slugs are less likely to be a problem this season.

Leaf miners: damage seen on earliest drilled fields. Not at a level to consider control measures. Seed treatments helping some leaf miners appear to be picking up pesticide as they travel in the leaf.

Phoma: none seen.

East Midlands: Crops vary from 4 true leaf down to cotyledon/1 leaf. Recent rainfall has seen a spurt in growth. Varieties this year are DK Cabernet as the frontrunner. Other main varieties DK Camelot, Compass, Vision and Excalibur. Post emergence herbicides just going on although the dry is holding some crops back and partial germination is making spray timing difficult. Most post ems now on - volunteers range from plentiful to very few - lower populations where moisture has been limiting growth.

Flea beetle: only slight damage seen in one crop where no seed dressing.

Slugs: very little activity this season, excellent seedbeds. Just applying a second small dose to a few heavier patches where rape is struggling to establish amongst clods and where slugs can move in the soil easily.

Phoma: no symptoms seen.

West Midlands: Crops range from still to emerge through to 4 true leaf. Rain last weekend has gone in far enough to ensure that majority of crops will now emerge. Looking at crops that had rainfall over the weekend seed is already chitting. I would say that 75% of crops are up and away with hopefully the rest fully emerged by next week.

Flea beetle: only slight damage so far.

Slugs: applying pellets to late emerging crops particularly after the weekend rainfall, some slug feeding is visible on the odd plant.

Phoma: no symptoms seen.

North East: Most forward crop at 3 leaves, and latest just at expanded cotyledons. Maybe a little bit dry now, but crops are establishing well. Most popular varieties are Ex-Power, Compass, Dimension, Palace and Sesame.

Flea beetle: some activity seen, but not damaging.

Slugs: a few around. Some seed beds following the sub-soiler drills are very rough and open so have applied a low rate of pellets.

Phoma: no symptoms seen.

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Winter Wheat

Eastern Counties: A lot of wheat drilled with some farms now completely drilled up, including second wheats which have all been dressed. The most forward crops are beginning to tiller although only about 40% of the crops sown have emerged. Main variety for early drilling is still Claire. However, have now called a halt to drilling as too dry with crops sown within the last 10 days still unchitted.

East Midlands: Drilling well under way with a vengeance this week in good conditions. No wheat yet emerged. Some 7 mm rain in last 2 days has helped with top moisture - some areas had heavy showers last Saturday. Comments that seedbeds are the best for years. Pre ems going on in good conditions with good seed cover.

West Midlands: Where crops have gone into moisture, crops are chitting very quickly. Very good seedbeds, almost 100% rolled to date. Still some parts of the county where they have had no more than 3mm in the last 3 weeks. Field conditions still in the main dry. Rainfall over the weekend and Tuesday has amounted to 5mm up to 15mm where they are up to 15mm wheat will now grow (rain has gone in up to 1" dependent upon soil type). No pre ems applied as yet but will more than likely start this week where we have adequate moisture levels.

North East: Most first wheats have been drilled in last 7 days. Good conditions mean drilling has continued with second wheats being drilled now. Excellent, seed beds are ideal for germination, slug control and pre-emergence herbicide efficacy. The only problem is very little blackgrass has germinated in stale seedbeds so there could be a bigger test for treatments than was intended. The recent showers should also help improve early herbicide performance. Major varieties are Oakley, Viscount, Duxford, Warrior and Scout.

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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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