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Report: 26 October 2012 (for week beginning 22 October 2012)

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

Phoma at threshold in the South: Around 50% of crops are now at 10% leaf spot thresholds with spraying now underway - no sign of any infection so far in more resistant varieties (eg DK Expower and Quartz).

26 October 2012: This is turning into be the worst autumn for drilling and crop establishment in memory. There are pockets of the country that have managed to achieve their autumn sowing plan but for many the cold wet soils have kept them out of the fields. The forecast for a dry if cold week may allow some catch up but it would still mean the national crop is way behind schedule. Very few herbicides have been applied to winter cereals, and there are still some oilseed rape crops untreated. The low soil temperatures and anaerobic conditions of many soils has also reduced weed germination. The only things showing any life are the slugs, buckets of them on some fields.

: Slug risk of damage to emerging wheat crops.

: Cropping plan changes mean more spring crops on the cards.

: Winter barley just emerging.

Winter Wheat

image from FoL

Rapid increase in slug numbers threaten emerging wheat. (Photo from Farming Online).

South East: At last we have had four dry days in a row, and with the wind picking up on 24 Oct. and significant rain now looking unlikely before the end of the month there should be some drilling progress on better drained land at least ? drills are finally beginning to get underway again today. Many farms remain well behind schedule due to the very unsettled and wet conditions since around the 23rd September (8-8.5 inches of rain now). All heavier fields that have been cultivated to encourage a stale seedbed are still very wet and unless we get several weeks of dry weather, a switch to spring cereals is looking increasingly likely. To date only around 70-75% of autumn sown wheat has been drilled ? with some farms still barely at 10% sown, while others have 75-80%+ drilled on lighter soils. Earliest sown wheats (Claire/Scout) are now at GS13-21 ? emergence and crop growth has been very slow this year due to combination of wet, cool conditions and low vigour in some seed. Seedbeds becoming more cobbly now, and even lighter soils are really marginal for drilling. Seedbeds after oilseed rape in particular want rolling to help reduce slug pressure, but this has been impossible in the last two weeks ? lack of rolling has also been an issue where pre-em sprays were planned, with most now targeted as post-emergence timings.

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

Slugs: very high levels of slugs present in most fields after oilseed rape and are actively grazing emerging/emerged plants. Some areas/fields will need re-drilling where seedbeds were particularly poor. Most fields appear to have a mix of species, with both grey field slugs and keeled slugs present (the latter causing some subterranean damage of main shoots ? at first glance this looks like wireworm damage). Slugs also very active in stubbles of fields going into second wheat.

Weed control: one benefit of all this wet weather is that finally, stale seedbeds may actually deliver the goods in terms of attaining a useful flush of blackgrass, and delayed drilling should also reduce population pressure on herbicides now.

Eastern Counties: 85% of drilling complete but there has not been much drilling completed in the last 10 days. Earliest sown crops are now beginning to tiller but most crops are between 1 and 2 leaf stage. Very wet over the last weekend and foggy/overcast days ever since means very little field work completed this week.

Aphids: counts have risen this week.

Slugs: quite a-lot of grazing on all wheats regardless of position in rotation or variety. Light land not affected as much but still grazing occurring.

Weed control: blackgrass now emerging to two leaf stage. Slow emergence of range of broad leaved weeds along with volunteer oilseed rape and beans.

East Midlands: Estimate some 50% only of wheat drilled. Earlier drilled wheat (but not a lot) just beginning to tiller with later drilled wheat anything between just emerging to just chitting. Emergence is slow. Soils remain water laden and with continued dull and damp days they are not drying out. It is almost impossible to do any fieldwork. Many were relying on the colder weather coming to dry soils a bit to allow some drilling but now looks short lived with more rain Sunday/Monday. If wet weather persists many are now looking to drill in new year/spring if possible rather than maul crops in. The financial implications of this are enormous after a poor quality harvest.

Slugs: crops just emerging after rape showing low levels of damage but with a lot of juvenile slugs under clods emerging, crops are receiving a low dose of pellets. In spite of wet soils many drillings have put seed into fine soil below and clods on top so little seed damage. Reports of slugs staying under surface and not coming to top for pellets but good kills of slugs have been seen so far on treated crops.

Weed control: pre emergence herbicide spraying now at a standstill. On a plus side with late emergence no blackgrass seen emerged yet and nearly all soils now being ploughed anyway. Generally unless weather improves drastically in November it is hard to see any spraying done this side of Christmas as crops just emerging and little or no weeds yet so no pressure to get sprays on.

West Midlands: So much for the Indian summer forecast for this week! It has been dank, damp and drizzly so far, not really doing much to dry out soils but at least it is still warm and crops have definitely responded to this, soil temps have increased over the last week. Around 40% of planned crop now in the ground. Heavier land farms are still struggling to even get started. Most forward crops at early tillering with majority at 2 true leaf and remaining crops drilled over the last 10-14 days emerging. Wheat forced in last week not surprisingly now sat in waterlogged soil.

Slugs: majority of wheat after rape is OK with one application of pellets doing the trick in most cases. However, oilseed rape stubbles are alive with slugs which may pose a challenge to the impending wheat crop.

Weed control: need to get pre/post emergents on many fields sooner rather than later.

North East: Earliest sown crops at the two leaf stage now, later sown germinating and emerging slowly in east Yorkshire. It has been a miserable week and fields are impassable now, so the spray program is on hold. Slug pellet applications have been made though on many fields.

Slugs: grazing on emerged crops is quite bad in some areas, and there is significant grain hollowing in some second wheats.

Weed control: only a few stale seedbeds have had a decent growth of blackgrass that was sprayed off before drilling. Some Blackgrass emergence has been seen now in a few of the earliest sown fields.

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Winter Oilseed Rape

image from FoL

Phoma developing more widely. (Photo from Farming Online).

South East: 100% of planned crop was drilled, with those that went into drier seedbeds (around 15-20% of crops) now at around 1-3 true leaves ? with remainder between 3-6+ true leaves. Crops on lower lying, wetter fields look very poor and farms are already considering re-drilling these with Spring Rape next Spring (suspected that around 10-15% of crops may need re-drilling).

Phoma: around 50% of crops are now at 10% leaf spot thresholds with spraying now underway ? no sign of any infection so far in more resistant varieties (eg DK Expower and Quartz).

Slugs: only problem fields have been those with cloddier seedbeds that have required re-treating.

Aphids: low levels of winged Myzus persicae being found in earlier sown crops.

Weed control: high levels of blackgrass and bromes emerging in fields.

Eastern Counties: This crop has continued to grow over last week with the most forward fields now at 7-8 leaves. The remainder of the crops have also put on some growth and most now have at least two true leaves.

Phoma: now appearing but none at threshold levels.

Slugs: still continuing to target some vulnerable patches but most rape is past the vulnerable stage.

Beet Cyst Nematode: a poor area of rape with plants with stunted tap roots and a proliferation of fibrous roots (?bearding?) on a light soil in a field which has been in a rotation of beet/barley/rape/barley/ has been diagnosed as having BCN (beet cyst nematode). The patches correspond to areas in the previous beet crop which suffered with BCN. Awaiting further investigation but these rotations on light soils with beet and rape are a worry as far as build-up of BCN is concerned.

Weed control: charlock has emerged in large numbers on a few fields. Volunteer wheat has continued to emerge on some min?tilled fields.

East Midlands: Crops have moved on a little bit (but painfully slow) this last week or so with forward crops at four leaves and better late crops at two leaves. However many still at cotyledon to one leaf. Many crops in now in very wet soils.

Slugs: still continue to cause problems.

Phoma: levels remain low so far but Phoma sprays destined for early November if weather allows.

Pigeons: a few small flocks are moving into rape crops which is not good news this early.

Weed control: very concerned now as no sprays on for blackgrass control.

West Midlands: Fields have definitely greened up this last week with the partially drier weather but, most importantly, noticeably warmer conditions. Most crops now have at least 1-2 true leaves and forward crops are nearly at 80% ground cover.

Phoma: low levels on forward crops but still nowhere at threshold yet.

Slugs: low level damage still occurring in these relatively mild and wet conditions.

Weed control: still some crops that have yet to receive any herbicide. Charlock getting quite big in some fields.

North East: There has been rapid growth by the early sown crops this week, and many are over ?welly height? and have 8?9 leaves. The later sown crops are still small for going into winter, but look more encouraging now.

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

Slugs: all areas have filled in now and if no further damage occurs they should be well established in another 7-10 days.

Phoma: despite what are considered ideal conditions for Phoma infection, only low levels being found so far.

Weed control: many crops have severe beds of blackgrass in them now.

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Winter Barley

image from FoL

Plough and drill combination. (Photo from Farming Online).

South East: Around 80% of planned Winter barley has now been drilled ? mostly by those with plough and drill combinations. Rest will hopefully be in by middle of next week. Most advanced crops are at GS 13-21. Any emerged crops have low levels of grazing apparent.

Eastern Counties: About 5% of planned crop sown but none established.

East Midlands: Just a few fields drilled and in some cases barley drilling has now been abandoned in favour of second wheat. None emerged yet.

West Midlands: About 40% of the crop now sown with the most forward at 1 true leaf. Crops sown 10 days ago have grown dramatically in the last week (not emerging last Wednesday to 1 leaf this week).

North East: All the winter barley is drilled now, and most is fully emerged at GS 11-12.

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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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