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Report: 19 September 2014 (for week beginning 15 September 2014)

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

19 September 2014: Oilseed rape has generally established well this autumn although some reports of staggered emergence due to dry seed beds. Reports show little if any flea beetle damage to crops emerging. However, surprising amount of slug damage in some crops given the dry autumn so far. Winter wheat sowing is just getting under way.


  • Slugs active in oilseed rape crops
  • Volunteer cereals need controlling
  • Flush of blackgrass in some fields

Winter Wheat

image from FoL

Sowing winter wheat

image from FoL

South East: Drilling of Claire and Scout got underway on fields/farms with minimal blackgrass concerns on 14th September – likely to be around 25% of wheat area sown by the weekend. Cordiale, JB Diego, Crusoe and Solstice will start being drilled next week and Skyfall and WW2 the week after. Most first wheats should get drilled by the end of September. Farms growing second wheat Cordiale/Solstice with Latitude planning to finish drilling by 5-7th October. Soils are generally moist below the surface following 5 inches of rain in second half of August, however forecast for continuing dry and warm conditions means an emphasis on preserving moisture by rolling following drilling – seedbeds to date are generally very good.

Eastern Counties: Drilling starting.

East Midlands: Main varieties Gallant and Skyfall with some Crusoe for quality, Invicta losing ground with JB Diego, Kielder, Santiago, Cougar and Leeds main ones but also some Evolution, Zulu and Revelation. Some Claire liked for late drilling after maize. Some Gallant drilled this week on clean soils but most delaying until end of month or later if blackgrass. Too dry – need some rain for topsoil to wet up.

Weed control: blackgrass emergence slow in stale seedbeds with dry conditions.

West Midlands: Varieties this year are Grafton, Diego, Leeds (first wheat light land ), Dickens, Evolution, Santiago, Cubanita, Solstice, Skyfall, and Crusoe. Currently crops range from not drilled, sat in dust to 1 leaf stage. By the end of this week all my growers will have drilled their first wheat after rape, and some will have drilled all their first wheat. Lighter soils are getting good germination but heavy cloddy soils the seed is sat in the dry. Most are drilling into moisture but it just depends on the soil type as to whether the moisture is sticking around long enough!

North East: Drilling starting

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Winter Oilseed Rape

image from FoL

Flush of volunteers in oilseed rape.

South East: Cotyledon to 2 true leaves – 75% of crops are now around 2-3 true leaves. The main varieties being grown this year are Amalie, Ovation, Campus, Picto, Trinity and Charger + some Cracker on club root fields.

Flea beetle: shot holing of cotyledons/leaves has fortunately been surprisingly hard to find to date, though low levels of activity are starting to appear this week.

Slugs: despite generally good seedbeds, slugs have been surprisingly problematic on a range of soil types, with a few fields/part fields needing redrilling last week. Wet back end of August clearly encouraged activity and hatching of eggs etc.

Turnip Sawfly: no larvae seen as yet (though plenty were about in oilseed rape stubbles), though adults have been very obviously egg-laying in crops over the last 10-14 days.

Weed control: significant flush of blackgrass in many fields with history of blackgrass or where was poor control in previous cereal, with emergence coinciding with crop emergence. Volunteer barley – large flush in min-tilled crops after spring barley in particular.

Eastern Counties: The main varieties being grown this year are Incentive, PR46W21, DK Cabernet, Harper, DK Extrovert and Popular. Most crops were drilled( rather than sub cast) and establishment has been good- these are predominantly light to medium soil types. Crops now 4 leaves but there are cotyledon rapes in areas of fields – cobbly areas, headlands etc. One heavy rain since drilling (20-25mm in one day). Fields now very dry on top – and little hope of further emergence in a few cobbly areas. Softening of the seedbed would also help the growth of some of the very small cotyledon plants. Fertiliser Use: P and K applied to seedbed mainly N applied at drilling. Where delayed it has now been dry for 3 ½ weeks with little prospect of rain in near future and N has not been washed in. This has affected growth on a very light soil type especially where there is a lot of chopped straw and stubble in surface layers.

Flea beetle: has not been severe and does not appear to have taken plants out as they emerged. Feeding activity started once rape produced first true leaf. Seed treatment seemed to help. Feeding now abated.

Slugs: a lot of activity early on and they have thinned a few areas of fields. Confusion with flea beetle damage. I believe slugs have been the main culprit taking plants out so far. Surfaces now very dry, most seedbeds are good and rolled down well and currently there is little surface feeding.

Weed control: blackgrass emerging in a large flush on a few fields.

East Midlands: DK Cabernet, Charger and Evolution main varieties sown this year with Vision still popular. Emergence has been good in earlier drilled crops with crops at 3-4 good leaves and good plant stands where aiming for 40 plants mt sq. Later drilled crops struggling to emerge in dry conditions.

Flea beetle: levels have remained low with no damage.

Slugs: although dry, high activity has been found with the damp nights and in most cases half rate 3% pellets have had to be applied with good results.

West Midlands: Final rape went in last week and is now emerging. Most crops are at the 2 -3 true leaf stage with some as forward as 4-5 true leaves. Most managed to drill into moisture but light land crops were starting to show signs of wilting this week. Varieties grown Troy ( 30% ), PR46W21 (20% ), Charger, Incentive, Harper ( 25% ), Campus, Avatar,and some Cubic.

Flea beetle: low levels are primarily found on varieties without seed dressing and then down to vicinity of crop to grain stores or rape stubbles.

Slugs: some fields have needed treating despite the dry.

Weed control: large number of volunteer cereals coming through especially after spring or winter barley.

North East: Good start to new crop with good germination seen across fields. Most crops range from cotyledon to 2 leaf. Varieties this autumn include Quartz, Camelot, Excaliber, Cabernet, PR46W21, Sesame, Rhino and Anastasia.

Flea beetle: low levels only.

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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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