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Very close up shot of wheat crop ears in field

Report: 18 October 2011 (for week beginning 10 October 2011)

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

A windy week: held back the sprayers again and has also exacerbated the dry conditions in some areas. Winter wheat crop emergence is still patchy especially where sown into dry seed beds.

Headlines: Phoma levels still very low but if you have been lucky enough to have seen some rain it will need monitoring from now on.
Some advanced crops of oilseed rape will need a growth regulator fungicde application soon.
Little to no slug activity leading to concerns that they could become an endangered species.
Mildew developing in some winter barley crops and the occassional early sown wheat.
Aphids on the rise in winter cereals.

Winter Oilseed Rape

image from FoL

Leaf miner damage in oilseed rape.

South East: Crops range from 3-4 leaves to 8+ true leaves with the majority of crops now at the 4-5 true leaf stage. All growing rapidly in sustained 'Indian' Summer-like weather we enjoyed recently.

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: a few Phoma spots can be found in August drilled crops of Vision and Cabernet, though only at around 2% infection level.

Eastern Counties: Generally rape looking fairly well advanced for the time of year- it was wilting badly in the hot dry weather and continues to look floppy on windy days this week.

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

Slugs: activity extremely low, most crops are now well past the vulnerable stage.

Leaf miners: damage now confined to older leaves.

Phoma: still very little phoma about, takes some searching to find the odd lesion.

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

East Midlands: Crops growing rapidly now roots down to moisture with some crops at 6-8 leaves and average crops at 5 leaves+. Odd backward crop struggling in dry conditions with roots in dry soil. One or two forward crops will receive a growth regulator.

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

Slugs: crops out of danger of any damage now.

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: some patchy blackgrass starting to grow now. Dry conditions means plants generally small with root in top 2 inches.

West Midlands: Crops range from still not chitted to 6 true leaf. Still the same as last week and will leave crops and see what we have in the spring, although some fields with no crop showing have been re-drilled with winter oats. Irrigated crops responding quickly to an inch of water.

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

Slugs: noticeable by their absence.

Leaf miners: damage quite severe in some areas.

Phoma: still no symptoms seen.

North East: The bigger crops continue to grow very rapidly and many have at least 7 leaves now. The later sown crops are established now, but hopefully will manage another 2-3 weeks growth before any proper winter conditions.

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. This is likely to change over the next 14 days following our recent rainfall.

Weed control: more grass weeds have come through in many fields now.

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Winter Wheat

image from FoL

Aphids on winter wheat

South East: Apart from a few fields after vegetables/grain maize, drilling of first and second wheat on most farms has now been completed. Earliest sown wheats now at GS 13-21, though bulk of crops are emerging to 1.5 leaves. Moist soils & dry sunny days helping to produce generally good seedbeds - however heavier areas have baked out in places, resulting in differential & patchy emergence, with some seed yet to chit. A decent rain is urgently needed now.

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

Gout fly: very little evidence of new egg laying despite warm weather.

Slugs: very little evidence of slug activity apart from heavier patches within fields where seedbeds are more open.

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 wheats generally have 1-2 tillers. Majority of wheats are between 2 - 4 leaves. Some patchy emergence but seed now chitted under clods so will catch up soon.

Mildew: beginning to develop on early sown Claire.

Slugs: very low levels after rape crops. Although increasing after recent rains.

Gout fly: no increase on last week.

Aphids: local aphid traps are trapping a lot more aphid this week.

Weed control: blackgrass now at 3 leaves to beginning of tillering.

East Midlands: Big variations with some crops at 2-3 leaf but a lot of crop showing patchy emergence with large patches of bare ground in some fields. Many fields with some wheat at 2-3 leaves and remainder at GS 10/11. Some areas remain very dry although parts have caught showers which has helped. Soil conditions on the whole remain good for drilling

Slugs: almost no damage - even oilseed rape volunteers remain untouched

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

Weed control: dry soils holding back blackgrass emergence. Volunteer beans very thick in some crops and will need hitting soon, but in some cases vigorous volunteer beans emerging with patchy crop growth

West Midlands: Still a very mixed picture of crop emergence. Min-tilled crops have established better than ploughed but the lack of rain in some areas is delaying emergence to the extent that some crops sown a month ago have still to appear.

Blue mould: still not a major issue but there is a lot of wheat with small shoot chits or root chits, guess if we do not get an inch very very soon then blue mould issues may well become a major issue.

Gout fly: no further increase in numbers of eggs, but it has been pretty windy of late.

Slugs: found one!

Aphids: obvious in crops at the two to three leaf stage.

Mildew: Early sown Solstice is carrying quite a lot of mildew.

Weed control: only spraying pre-emergence herbicides where we know we have a crop or where those that have been lucky enough to have 15-25mm of rain and moisture down to the seed.

North East: Most forward crops have emerged evenly and are in the range GS13-21. Later drilled crops went into much drier seedbeds and have come through only where moisture was retained. In the drier areas there is no emergence yet. No problems seen so far except the dry conditions. No blue mould seen. The dry spell is over now with 25mm rain in last 7 days, and most of that in the last 48 hours. This has been enough to penetrate to seed depth, so we can expect to see full crop emergence in all fields over the next week.

Slugs: no evidence of slug activity seen in last seven days, but crops after rape are at risk now, following recent rain, especially in areas where crop has not emerged yet.

Aphids: none seen so far on wheat but have been found on barley.

Weed control: Stale seedbeds were not very successful this year, but there was also less seed return than has been the case for some years. If you are an optimist and you have not worked the fields too deeply, this suggests there may not be too much blackgrass to emerge this Autumn. In the real world it will become clear in the next 2 weeks just what the level of the problem is for this season.

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Winter Barley

South East: Winter barley drilling all completed now, with earlier sown crops now at 2-leaf stage. Blackgrass emergence noted in earliest drilled crops at 1-2 leaf stage. Desperately need enough rain to properly activate residuals otherwise is likely to be some poor blackgrass control.

Eastern Counties: Crops range from two to four leaves. Mildew developing in forward crops of Cassata.

East Midlands: Crops moving quickly now at 2-3 leaves. Again some heavier fields with patchy emergence. Low levels of mildew found on Cassia - not a problem yet but a sign of things to come if weather remains mild.

West Midlands: Earliest sown crops now at two leaves. Mildew appearing in some crops of Cassia.

North East: Most crops have come through unevenly due to the extreme dryness of the seedbeds. Low levels of mildew seen on some Cassia.

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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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