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Very close up shot of wheat crop ears in field

Report: 21 September 2012 (for week beginning 24 September 2012)

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

21 September 2012: The late harvest has had a knock on effect on sowing dates and consequently the oilseed rape crops are behind in growth stage for late September. Very few wheat crops have been sown and no reports of winter barley in the ground yet.

Dry seedbeds: delaying emergence

Slugs: activity low so far

Wheat: drilling just starting

Winter barley: yet to be drilled

Winter Wheat

image from FoL

Sowing winter wheat

South East: Drilling of Claire and Scout underway this week. Solstice, Gallant and Cordiale will start being drilled next week and Xi19 in early October. As ever, the aim is to sow most first wheats by end of September (except crops after Grain maize/potatoes etc). Any farms growing second wheat Cordiale/Solstice with Latitude planning to finish drilling by 10th October. Most soils and seedbeds are now drying out rapidly due to combination of warm days and some drying winds. Most soils/seedbeds are working down reasonably well, but heavier soils are still wet and tough at depth leading to cloddy areas within fields. All except the finest seedbeds need rolling. Claire, Scout, Solstice, Gallant, Cordiale, and KWS Target are the main varieties for drilling this autumn, with lions share of acreage taken by the first five. Second wheat acreage again being dominated by Cordiale.

Leatherjackets: some larval activity noted in fields after long-term grass.

Frit fly: none seen yet but will remain vigilant after short term leys and oats.

Slugs: trapping of fields after oilseed rape pre-/or post-drilling is indicating moderate/high 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 on any fields that have been disced/cultivated twice pre-drilling.

Weed control: blackgrass - largely dry conditions throughout September have prevented any meaningful stale seedbeds to date, so populations reduction pre-sowing will not be very effective in many cases this year!

Eastern Counties: The dust is really flying; with seedbeds difficult to come by and some rain would be greatly appreciated. First true leaf on the earliest drilled crops. But the majority of fields are yet to be drilled or at dry seed. Varieties this year include Santiago, Relay, Horatio, JB Diego, Conqueror, KWS Solo, Oakley, Invicta, Tuxedo, Target, Torch, Claire, and Solstice.

Slugs: wheat after oilseed rape has been treated pre emergence with pellets.

Weed control: blackgrass has yet to emerge but pre-emergence treatments either applied or planned. Various combinations and stacking partners depending on the situation.

East Midlands: Very little drilled to date. Lab reports are that wheat dormancy could be high this year (clients report volunteers seem slow to emerge this year) and they have reported fusarium levels on seed as very high. More seed treatment being used with higher slug threat. Main wheat varieties are Santiago, JB Diego (acreage has increased this year) and Duxford with Grafton and Alchemy hanging in and some Claire and a bit of Warrior for seed.

Weed control: blackgrass emergence in stubbles is very slow reflecting the Adas findings on dormancy. Pre emergence sprays planned.

West Midlands: About 10% of the fields after oilseed rape are now sown but nothing has emerged yet. Field conditions are pretty good so far with some heavier soils a bit cloddy and drying out quickly, all crops drilled so far have been min tilled and rolled. Main varieties this year are Grafton, Humber, Invicta, JB Diego, Relay, Panorama, Oakley, Solstice, and Gallant.

Slugs: no issues as yet, mainly due to dry conditions and quick germination.

North East: Very little wheat has been drilled yet but expect most growers to start in next 7 days. The top few centimeters are drying out now, but there is plenty of moisture just below that. It has not been a season for judging varieties so the range is similar to last year. The most popular include Grafton, Viscount , Invicta, JB-Diego, Santiago, Oakley, Beluga and Scout.

Slugs: the dry conditions have reduced slug activity on the surface of rape stubbles but there is no doubt that they will be back as soon as it rains.

Weed control: stale seedbeds have worked down well but it is mostly volunteer rape growing in them and disappointing amounts of blackgrass so far. It is vital to stress how important the success of the stale seedbed is to blackgrass control, but many growers will not be able to resist the good conditions and will drill too early. The plan is to spray off stale seedbeds with glyphosate prior to drilling, and then to apply a robust pre-emergence spray. If it is too dry this may be delayed a little but it is a risky strategy if the weather goes against you.

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Winter Oilseed Rape

image from FoL

Volunteer spring barley in oilseed rape

South East: Crops range from still not germinated in drier seedbeds (around 10-20% of crops) to cotyledon to 2-3 true leaves. About half of crops are now around 1-2 true leaf. Main varieties this year are ES Alienor, Vision, Ovation, Quartz and DK Expower.

Phoma: none seen to date, even on volunteers in nearby rape stubbles - dry September to date should mean a much later spore release than last few years.

Flea beetle: low levels of shot holing of cotyledons in some crops even though all crops seed treated - most noticeable in areas where seedbeds cloddier.

Slugs: good seedbeds and dry soils have minimized problems to date this autumn in most cases.

Turnip sawfly: no larvae seen as yet, though adults noted egg-laying on true leaves of more advanced crops during warm weather around 10 days ago.

Weed control: volunteer barley - large flush in min-tilled crops after spring barley in particular.

Eastern Counties: Most of the oilseed rape drilling in NW Norfolk was completed by the end of the first week in September. Early drilled rape on the lighter soils has established exceptionally well and now has 4 true leaves plus. The later drillings on more difficult soils have struggled to find moisture and are still emerging. Crops are desperate for a drink to encourage further growth or even unchitted seed which has been sitting in the ground for four weeks. A lot of land has been ploughed (mainly light soils) others min-tilled. Seedbeds dried out quickly and clods are very hard. There has been some capping but on the whole emergence looks OK and seedlings are still emerging whilst some seed is still in dry soil. We have irrigated twice on one farm to wet the seedbed. Establishment is poorer where sub-casting has been used as it was difficult to close the cracks in the prevailing conditions. Varieties this year include Astrid, Cubic, Agatha, Camelot, Quartz, PR46W21, Compass, Vision, Marathon, and Sesame.

Phoma: traces found on forward crops in Essex.

Slugs: there were plenty about and all vulnerable soil types/ seed beds have been treated once or twice. However, other than losing a few areas (part fields) to slugs early on activity seems to have slowed down except on sub cast fields where they are moving in the fissures. Still need to be vigilant once it rains again!

Weed control: most fields were sprayed pre-em and in the majority of cases there was sufficient rain to wash this in. Some later drillings have only had a 2mm since herbicide application and a few weeds are beginning to emerge. Sub-cast fields and a few others are to be treated post-em. Some fields due now but protracted emergence on others will make timing difficult. Volunteer barley has been sprayed on min tilled fields. Very thick volunteer wheat has emerged and min tilled fields behind wheat need prompt action.

East Midlands: Crops are still trying to emerge with only a few crops at 1-2 leaves. Main varieties are DK Cabernet, Compass, Vision, Sesame in other words no real change from last year.

Slugs: remain a problem with rape emergence with several reports of field losses even after 3 applications of pellets. All crops getting pellets after drilling.

Phoma: small crops at risk from phoma if weather slows them down.

West Midlands: 80% of crops now drilled and the earliest crops are now at 4 true leaf. There are a lot just at cotyledon stage. Crops drilled last week are already poking through 7 days after drilling where put in to moisture and rolled soon after. Some crops sat in dry cloddy seedbeds and will need 10mm of rain to get them through. Main varieties this year are Cubic, Troy, Thorin, Vision, PR46W21 some Sesame and DK Cabernet.

Slugs: no disasters as yet all crops have been min tilled and rolled so far.

North East: All rape has been drilled at least once now. Some will not establish fully until there is some rain. Other crops have emerged well and are now at 1 True Leaf.

Flea beetle: there has been some feeding where the seed is not dressed.

Slugs: the dry conditions have reduced their activity but they have still managed to reduce the establishment of some crops. Slug pellets are being applied at low rates that allow a sequence of treatments to provide longer periods of protection.

Weed control: most crops have little blackgrass in them so far, but a few fields already have a severe infestation.

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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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