: As we begin a new autumn campaign the dry conditions across the Midlands are still causing concern whilst elsewhere there seems to have been adequate rainfall to aid emergence of winter oilseed rape crops. High winds last week have damaged some oilseed rape crops.
Winter Oilseed Rape
Crop with varied growth stages
South East: Crops range from cotyledon to 2-3 true leaves with the bulk of crops now around 1 true leaf. Main Varieties being grown are ES Alienor, Vision, Ovation, DK Camelot and DK Expower.
Flea beetle: shot holing of cotyledons quite widespread even though most crops seed treated with an insecticide - true leaves mostly unaffected.
Slugs: good seedbeds and dry soils have minimized problems to date.
Turnip sawfly: no larvae seen as yet, though adults noted egg-laying on calmer days in the last week.
Phoma: none seen to date, even on volunteers in nearby rape stubbles - but 3+ inches of rain in last 4-5 weeks will have been more than sufficient to trigger spore release at some point.
Eastern Counties: Generally very good establishment and rapid growth. Most advanced crops now at four true leaves but some still expanded cotyledons with some rape still emerging in the later drilled cobblier seedbeds. However, we are currently re-drilling on light land farms due to extensive damage from wind blown soil. Rape as large as 2 expanded true leaves has been taken out completely desiccated by sand blasting! We are mainly re-drilling patches of 2 to 10 ha in size but on one farm the well emerged rape on a 42ha exposed field has completely disappeared except for a few sheltered headlands. These are ploughed and drilled fields and rolling has made the situation worse. Not rolling has protected some fields. The soil on min-tilled fields held. The poppies are just beginning to emerge on a few problem fields. 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: causing pale or white lesions, a little like bird droppings are common although rarely more than 5% of plants affected. Forward crops should have cereal volunteers removed ASAP and the addition of pyrethroid should reduce flea beetle and leaf miners.
Phoma: none seen.
East Midlands: crops are all over the place with some crops at two leaf but majority at cotyledon to one leaf. Soils are very dry and some fields have crops at cotyledon, just emerging or not yet germinated all in the same field. Some crops visibly wilting at cotyledon stage. 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.
Flea beetle: only slight damage seen in one crop where no seed dressing.
Slugs: no major problems - just the odd field has had a low rate dressing of 3% pellets.
West Midlands: Crops range from three true leaf to sat in dust. A very high percentage of crops have been established using minimum tillage techniques this year. Some crops will not germinate until we get an inch of rain and irrigators are out in the driest areas. The most forward crops are those on lighter land where seed soil contact good and what rain we have had has gone in. Some wind damage to crops now visible especially on the sands.
Flea beetle: only slight damage so far.
Slugs: very few crops have needed any treatment.
Phoma: no symptoms seen.