23 November 2012: Wet Wet and wet again seems to sum up this autumn and needless to say the crops are not liking it either. Progress is slow and erratic and although some farms are drilled up there are still many that are no where near it. Slugs are just loving the present conditions and taking full advantage of the fact that pellets are in short supply and even if you have them it is frequently too wet to apply. Phoma on the other hand is thankfully taking its time to develop.
Slugs: at least they are able to travel on the fields but nothing else can. A loosing battle on some fields.
Slugs: still causing problems
Blackgrass: needs controlling
Phoma: slow to develop but increasing in all regions.
New hatch of slugs causing concern
South East: After a drier 10-14 day period (with only 8-10mm of rain recorded) the weather has returned to its default mode ie. wet (another 30mm of rain since Monday of this week) and more wet to come! This really is turning into an 'Annus Horribilis' for UK farming. To date around 80-85% of autumn sown wheat has been drilled - with some farms still barely at 30-40% sown, while others are now 90-100% drilled. September sown wheats (Claire/Scout) are now at GS21+, otherwise most emerged crops are still at around GS11-13 - milder day and night conditions in the last two weeks have encouraged crops to grow and emerge more rapidly.
Slugs: still present at high levels in fields after oilseed rape.
Weed control: where blackgrass has emerged, then a herbicide mix is being applied to remove any established blackgrass early.
Eastern Counties: It is very wet and as such unable to do anything. Very little growth at the moment with the earliest crops at GS21. Most crops between 3 and 4 leaves. 85% of drilling complete. Some late drilling after beet has been done.
Slugs: still active.
Weed control: blackgrass now at two to three leaf stage and if able to treat using a herbicide mix. Volunteer rape, beans and Cranes Bill only just emerging.
East Midlands: Some later drilled wheat struggling to emerge but concern over recently drilled wheat now in saturated soils - expect to see rotting seed. Drilling now about 80% of expected crop but how much will survive the wet conditions? Soil now extremely saturated after 40 mm rain in past week. Difficult to see any field work this side of January/February unless a big turnaround in weather but with 25+mm more rain expected many will shutdown now.
Slugs: as usual plenty about.
Weed control: blackgrass emergence still slow and patchy but control is academic as probably won't be able to treat until well into new year.
West Midlands: Renamed the Wet Midlands it looks as though this recent rain has brought everything to a halt. Soils now saturated, ponding or should that be laking in fields is common and we can only guess at what will survive.
Weed control: still not a great flush of weeds amongst recently emerged crops. Expecting a flush of aquatic weeds any day soon.
North East: Little change this week, short days and some frosty nights make for very slow growth. A further 9mm of rain this week on already wet fields has put an end to a short spell of activity last week, when managed to get spray operations just about up to date.
Slugs: there is still a bit of grazing in some crops after rape and some later sown wheat on heavy land, but no further slug pellet applications planned this week.
Weed control: main concern now is that where there are bad patches of blackgrass we can't get on with the herbicide mix.
Winter Oilseed Rape
Phoma on small plants needs controlling.
South East: Crop growth is slow with 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: around 50-70% of crops are now at 10% leaf spot thresholds with spraying underway/completed - still no sign of any infection so far in more resistant varieties (eg DK Expower and Quartz) and in general levels of leaf spotting are some of the lowest seen for 2-3 years.
Slugs: only problem fields have been those with cloddier seedbeds that have required re-treating.
Pigeons: already beginning to graze the more backward and open crops quite hard.
Weed control: high levels of blackgrass and bromes emerging in fields.
Eastern Counties: A little more growth over the last week but crops are appearing more and more uneven showing up old tramlines and wheelings put in during cultivation. Headlands are particularly poor plants are turning purple and are very small in these waterlogged compacted areas. Hybrid varieties such as PR46W21 are looking vigorous. Fields are currently very very wet after recent downpour with water lying in many tramlines.
Phoma: on the untreated crops phoma levels are still barely at threshold.
Slugs: till a problem on backward areas and a lot of leaf grazing can be seen on larger plants.
Pigeons: amassing in larger numbers and need moving off on some of the more vulnerable crops in particular. Where plant populations are low we need all plants to survive the winter to make a crop.
Weed control: lots of charlock emerging in some fields. Still waiting to apply residual herbicide for blackgrass control on many fields.
East Midlands: No real change with crops now very slow to grow - some purpling now showing in wetter patches.
Slugs: continue to attack at all levels of crops with smaller plants still at great risk.
Phoma: some phoma sprays on but with continue delays fungicide rates will now be increased as phoma becomes more obvious.
Pigeons: some large flocks seen on rape which is not good given the small plants.
Weed control: just a few fields have had residual herbicide for blackgrass control.
West Midlands: Very little change in growth over the week but most crops now have at least 3 - 4 true leaves and forward crops are nearly at 80% ground cover. Still plenty of small and tender crops around struggling in the wet.
Phoma: more noticeable in crops but rarely at threshold levels. However, small plants are at higher risk of leaf infection spreading to stems.
Slugs: still active and doing damage.
Pigeons: starting to come in and small crops will need 100% attention otherwise they will never make it through to the spring.
Weed control: charlock getting quite big in some fields.
North East: Crops range from very few plants established to dense crops with 8-10 leaves. The majority are established now and have 3 - 5 leaves, but some have a high percentage of very small plants at 3 leaves. No change this week.
Slugs: have continued to damage cloddy areas in fields.
Phoma: hardly any lesions seen, despite the continuous rainfall.
Weed control: residual herbicide at full rate has been applied to all crops at 3 - 5 leaves minimum.
Plough and drill combination.
South East: Around 90-95% of planned Winter barley has been drilled - mostly by those with plough and drill combinations. Rest will now go into spring barley. Most advanced crops are at around GS13-21+.
Eastern Counties: Earliest drilled crops have a tiller. Some are only at 1 leaf. Seen quite a bit of DFF damage this year because of the rain.
East Midlands: Most crops at 2 leaves and slow development.
West Midlands: Most forward at start of tillering, others are still only just emerging.
North East: All winter barley has emerged now, and most crops range from GS11 to 21. A few areas being grazed by slugs now.