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Very close up shot of wheat crop ears in field

Report: 11 October 2011 (for week beginning 03 October 2011)

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

: The hot spell last week brought out the bugs with reports of increased levels of gout fly, leaf miner and aphids. Winter wheat crop emergence is still patchy especially where sown into dry seed beds. Phoma now seen in South as well as East but only at very low levels. Forecast for an unsettled week which could delay still further any outstanding field operations. La NiƱa developing in the Gulf of Mexico leading to predictions of another cold winter so crops better get a move or we could see a lot of re-drilling in the spring.

Winter Oilseed Rape

image from FoL

Leaf miner damage in oilseed rape.

South East: Crops range from 1-2 leaves to 6 true leaves with majority of crops are now around 3-4 true leaf stage.

Flea beetle: shot holing of cotyledons quite widespread but true leaves mostly unaffected now.

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

Turnip sawfly: still no larvae seen as yet.

Phoma: first few Phoma spots found in last few days on crops of August drilled Vision, though only at around 2% infection level, otherwise crops remain free of infection to date.

Eastern Counties: Most advanced crops at 8 true leaves and completely covering the ground - these look too forward and too thick. These crops with a large leaf area are 'leggy' and have been wilting in the hot and now windy weather. Very small rape at expanded cotyledon to 2 leaf, which has struggled to emerge on a few heavy patches, is very deep bluey/ green in colour and struggling to survive in the harsh drying conditions. On the whole, however, rape has established well and is at 4 to 6 leaf stage. Redrilled rape on light soils has rapidly reached the 2 true leaf stage. Crops are looking uneven across some fields (especially where no N has been applied) the old tramlines show up where lots of N is available and rape is also slower to grow away where dense barley volunteers are dying away.

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

Slugs: very few pellets applied. Just making a second application to the odd slow to establish patch where slugs have been active in open seedbeds.

Leaf miners: damage has increased in some locations but crops are very forward and treatment not considered worthwhile.

Phoma: still just the odd spot of phoma - extremely hard to find no action yet.

Weed control: some of the post emergence applications have been applied too late and some weeds had already emerged, especially poppy.

East Midlands: Crops all over the place with forward at 5 leaves plus and later ones at 2-3 leaves and in some cases crops at 4 leaf and cotyledon in the same field.

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 sign of any as yet.

Leaf miners: generally at low levels but odd crop has high infestation. Experience shows crops recover well over winter as older damaged leaves die back with frost.

Weed control: good control of volunteers with low rate herbicide allowing rape to grow away, particularly in drier conditions - expect to see another flush when rains come.

West Midlands: Crops range from still not chitted to 6 true leaf. Still a very mixed bag, reports suggest that at least 10% of the crops in the area have still failed to emerge properly. Crops on lighter land are looking very sorry for themselves and desperately need a good soaking. Irrigated crops covered with cotyledon oilseed rape within a week of irrigation.

Flea beetle: quite bad on late germinating/thin crops.

Slugs: very little if any activity.

Leaf miners: damage quite severe in some areas.

Phoma: no symptoms seen.

North East: Crops that established early are now at 5 - 7 leaves, and growing very quickly despite maybe flagging a bit during the recent hot spell. Later sown crops have good plant numbers, but they are only at 1 - 3 leaves. Most crops are growing strongly and no N will be applied.

Flea beetle: some activity seen, but not damaging.

Slugs: no recent activity seen.

Phoma: even the forward crops in this region are clean so far.

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Winter Wheat

image from FoL

Gout fly egg on winter wheat.

South East: Earliest sown wheats now at 1.5 to 2 leaves. Moist soils & dry sunny days helping to produce generally good seedbeds, although heavier soils are still proving surprisingly wet & need leaving 24-48 hours after discing etc before drilling.

Leather jackets: some high larval levels being found in fields after long-term grass (3 years+).

Gout fly: eggs been found on few early emerged wheats at 1-2 leaf stage in last few days.

Slugs: trapping of fields after oilseed rape pre-/or post-drilling is indicating moderate levels of slugs with areas of volunteers almost totally cleared where stubbles have not been cultivated in last 3-4 weeks - however populations appear to be very low though on fields that have been disced/cultivated twice pre-drilling.

Weed control: blackgrass starting to emerge with crop in some fields now - with no notable rain since pre-emergence herbicides applied anticipate a much reduced contribution to blackgrass control than in last two autumns (perhaps down to 40%).

Eastern Counties: Very early sown wheat crops generally have 1-2 tillers. Majority of crops are between 2 - 4 leaves. Some patchy emergence with seed sitting un-chitted under clods. Soils are very dry and some later drilled fields quite cloddy because of the dryness.

Mildew: beginning to develop on early sown Claire.

Slugs: very low levels after rape crops.

Gout fly: quite a lot more gout fly eggs found this week.

Aphids: trapping a lot more aphid this week.

Weed control: blackgrass at one leaf.

East Midlands: All first wheat drilled and most second wheat. Wheat after maize being drilled the earliest for some years. Wheat emergence ranges from very good with wheat at 2-3 leaf to patchy emergence with some areas of bone dry soil and seed not yet germinated.

Slugs: hardly any damage seen and not enough to warrant pellets.

Gout fly: just the odd plant with eggs but nothing to warrant any spraying.

Weed control: dry soils holding back blackgrass emergence - some concern over efficacy of pre ems as dry continues. Stale seed beds have had little or no significant greening up.

West Midlands: Crops range from GS 13 to still sat in dust. Pretty much all wheat now drilled (approximately 90%) apart for late lifted potatoes and after maize or fodder beet. Seed beds very good in the main but it is very very dry in central Shropshire. In the Cannock area, Malvern, Welsh borders and north Shropshire crops are emerging well but everywhere else they are patchy or not doing anything.

Blue mould: reports of one crop redrilled due to high incidence of blue mold on semi-chitted seed.

Gout fly: noticeable increase in the last 7 days.

Weed control: impressive crop scorch from post emergence herbicides on crops sprayed to date!

North East: Wheat drilled mid-September has emerged well and is now GS 12-13. Later drilled crops have very variable emergence depending on amount of moisture in seedbed at time of drilling. No problems seen so far. Most seed has either grown or is waiting for rain. No blue mould seen. Very few growers not finished drilling now. Some seedbeds have been power-harrowed several times but eventually despite some clod, the seed has been sown into plenty of tilth. There will be no germination until we have significant rain.

Slugs: no evidence of slug activity seen in last few days.

Weed control: blackgrass emerging in some fields now.

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Winter Barley

South East: Winter barley drilling mostly completed now, with earlier sown crops now at 1-leaf stage.

Eastern Counties: Still to emerge through to two leaves.

East Midlands: Barley now being drilled - none emerged yet.

West Midlands: Earliest sown crops now at two leaves.

North East: All early sown crops have emerged well and are at GS11-12, but the later sown will not germinate until after rain.

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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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