9 November 2012: It is all getting a bit depressing. Little change over the last week except an obvious east/west divide developing as far as crop establishment is concerned. Phoma levels in oilseed rape have changed little over the past week but with many crops made up of smaller plants than usual many are choosing to spray in advance of reaching traditional thresholds levels. Winter wheat sowing has progressed albeit slowly in some areas but it is looking increasingly likely that there will be more spring sown crops than planned.
Slugs: a continuing problem
Aphid traps: still showing high counts
Cropping plan: more spring crops on the cards
Phoma: at threshold in the South slowly increasing in all regions.
Winter barley: watch out for Rhyncosporium.
Crops range from early tillering (right) to not this year (left).
South East: A mere 20-25mm more rain on Sunday in addition to 20mm of rain last Wednesday effectively put paid to any further drilling until the last few days, and then only on lighter/better drained fields. Around another 5-10% of planned total area should hopefully get drilled over the next 7 days, as conditions look largely dry for the next week (fingers crossed !!). Farms on lower lying and heavier soils still remain well behind schedule. To date only around 75-80% of autumn sown wheat has been drilled - with some farms still barely at 20% sown, while others now have 80-100% drilled on lighter soils.
Frit fly: none seen yet but will remain vigilant after short term leys and oats.
Slugs: still very high levels of slugs present in fields after oilseed rape.
Weed control: very few pre-emergence herbicides applied and most will now be applied at pre-emergence to 2 leaf stage of crop as pre-em applications have been virtually impossible due to wet conditions and wet un-rolled seedbeds.
South West: A challenging time with only about 30% of the planned acreage of wheat in the ground and doubts as to whether more than 25% of that will survive the winter. Any land heavier than the chalk downs is virtually anaerobic now. Crops are taking a long time to emerge and seed rotting in low lying or heavier parts of fields.
Slugs: plenty of them about and almost impossible to comply with the voluntary code of use for metaldehyde applications as soils are wet and the rain keeps falling.
Weed control: plenty of product stuck in the spray store.
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: no change.
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: Crops have about stood still for last week and now many farmers resigned to leaving soils to hopefully dry out a bit and drill in January. Wheat drilled 3 weeks ago just showing and any drilling into heavy wet soils now with cold soils will result in seed rotting. There seems to be an A1 divide with crops to the east in better shape than those to the west. Reports from Lincolnshire suggest reasonable crop establishment whilst to the west soils remain very wet after heavy rain on Sunday and soil temps at 10 cm remain at below 5 deg C. Fieldwork almost impossible.
Slugs: still causing damage to emerging crops and crops that have emerged.
Weed control: spray days few and far between but fortunately blackgrass and other weeds haven't grown much either.
West Midlands: A drier week has allowed some to catch up on sowing, mainly after maize and some after potatoes. The most forward crops now at early tillering stage and these mainly on lighter land. Otherwise crops range from just chitting to two leaf stage. Probably now at about 60% of planned acreage sown and of that half has emerged enough to establish.
Slugs: treating some fields beginning of this week due to grain hollowing.
Weed control: a bit more spraying off the list this week. Still not a great flush of weeds amongst recently emerged crops.
North East: It's been a cold, wet week with little sunshine so crops have not grown much over the last 7 days. Growth stages range from emerging to GS 21. Fields are even wetter now following a further 15mm rain this week.
Slugs: Virtually all first wheats are dressed with Redigo Deter and have emerged well with little seed hollowing. Grazing on emerged crops is quite bad in some areas, and there is significant grain hollowing in some second wheats, especially where seedbeds are trashy and cloddy. Most second wheats have gone into colder , wetter ground. Emergence is slower, so the potential for slug damage is greater now.
Weed control: the pre-emergence herbicides have had plenty of moisture this year for them to work well. Most fields are clean so far, but there is Blackgrass emerging in some known problem areas. It's a matter of waiting now to see how big a challenge it will be for post-emergence treatments.
Winter Oilseed Rape
Phoma on small plants needs controlling.
South East: Very little change on last week with crops ranging from 2 to 8+ true leaves. Crops on lower lying, wetter fields still look very poor and may need re-drilling with spring rape
Phoma: as last week 50-70% 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.
Weed control: high levels of blackgrass and bromes emerging in fields.
South West: Crops range from complete ground cover to small red and blue plants sitting in cold wet soil. Unfortunately most of the crops fall into this latter category. Expecting about 60% of the crops to make it through the winter.
Phoma: at low levels but not developing quickly and none at threshold yet.
Weed control: still waiting for crops to get big enough to apply propyzamide.
Eastern Counties: Crops have continued to grow a little over the last week- now have very few which are not established or of sufficient size to over-winter. No field applications in the past week
Phoma: levels have not increased much, but the disease is easy to find in most fields. Been too wet for any field applications so Phoma sprays are still outstanding. Some fields may be too wet to get on now!
Slugs: still applying to some poor patches in fields and the direct drilled crop.
Pigeons: grazing in small groups on poor headlands, thin patches. Started to use deterrents, kites, bangers, rope bangers, scarecrows etc.
Weed control: flush of brome and some large blackgrass needs controlling.
East Midlands: Slow growth with forward crops at 3-5 leaves and some backward crops stuck at 2 leaf stage.
Slugs: many crops at 2-3 leaves still being damaged and just a few forward ones at 3-5 leaves getting away from slugs.
Phoma: levels remain low but phoma strategies now in place and a few crops sprayed.
Pigeons: a few small flocks are moving into rape crops, if we get a big influx it could spell the end for smaller crops.
Weed control: weather continues to delays sprays.
West Midlands: Most crops now have at least 1-2 true leaves and forward crops are nearly at 80% ground cover. Growth on backward crops is still slow even in relatively milder conditions.
Phoma: although more noticeable in crops rarely at threshold levels. However, small plants are at higher risk of leaf infection spreading to stems.
Slugs: low level damage still occurring but becoming less.
Slugs: low level damage still occurring but becoming less.
Pigeons: some quite large flocks coming into crops - where the plants are still small it won't take much grazing to do a lot of damage.
Weed control: charlock getting quite big in some fields.
North East: More late sown crops following wheat can now be rated as 'established', but there are still a lot where plants are too small if harsh winter weather moves in.
Flea beetle: there has been some feeding where the seed is not dressed.
Slugs: have continued to damage cloddy areas in fields. Pellets continue to be applied, but even using 1.5 % pellets some crops have had the Autumn limit of metaldehyde now.
Phoma: very low levels of infection seen so far in all varieties.
Weed control: many crops have severe beds of blackgrass in them now, and it is growing very quickly.
Plough and drill combination.
South East: Around 90-95% of planned Winter barley has now been drilled - mostly by those with plough and drill combinations. Most advanced crops are at around GS13-21.
Eastern Counties: About 5% of planned crop sown but none established.
East Midlands: Crops now mainly at the one leaf stage. Rhynco developing on some crops which are only at two leaf stage.
West Midlands: Approximately 50% in now, most forward at start of tillering, others just emerging. Will call a halt to any more sowing and switch to wheat. Winter barley yields plummet when sown in late November.
North East: All winter barley has emerged now, and most crops range from GS11 to 21. A few areas being grazed by slugs now.