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Report: 03 October 2014 (for week beginning 29 September 2014)

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

3 October 2014: A sweet autumn so far for many with drilling of winter cereals well ahead of schedule and many crops emerging well. Dry conditions have allowed for unimpeded field work Aphids are being caught in suction traps but to date few have been found in winter oilseed rape crops and no sightings reported in winter cereals. Slug damage has been low so far. Flea beetle damage is still not a major problem nationally although there are reports of localised damage, particularly in the east.


  • Aphids - both peach-potato and mealy cabbage in oilseed rape crops just starting to appear
  • Slug activity low in winter cereals but damage to some oilseed rape crops
  • Turnip sawfly in southern regions
  • High thousand grain weights for both wheat and barley
  • Dry conditions reducing activity of pre-emergence herbicides
  • Phoma - none seen yet

Winter Wheat

South East: Around 90% of first wheats have now been drilled, with only remaining fields being after potatoes, veg and maize - drilling of second wheats underway in last few days and these will hopefully all be in by the end of next week. Earliest sown (10th-15th Sept) wheats now at GS11-12 – however, many fields on heavier soils are showing very uneven emergence due to areas of dry seedbed. Soils generally remain moist below the surface but are still very dry on top after only 8mm rain in the last 2 weeks. Looks as though Autumn may well arrive next week!

Slugs: populations are, however, much lower on those fields that were disced/cultivated twice pre-drilling. Cobblier areas of fields on heavier/stonier soils are showing some signs of shredding of emerged plants.

Frit fly: beware fields following spring oats as these are often at high risk of damage from the summer generation of frit that invade panicles of oats.

Leatherjacket: some moderately high levels being found in lower lying fields after long-term grass.

Blackgrass: useful flushes in most stale seedbeds, which should reduce populations emerging with the crop.

Eastern Counties: Drilling well underway with 80-90% of the crop in the ground. Dry seed beds are hindering emergence a bit but 50% of those sown are now up and in general crops look well. Most forward crops at GS11. Rain forecast at the weekend will be welcomed.

Slugs: no damage yet.

Weed control: a lot of herbicide (tri-allate) going on in an attempt to control blackgrass. Blackgrass is emerging along with the crop.

East Midlands: Drilling in full swing now with bad blackgrass fields being left until last. High thousand grain weights has meant increased seed rates. Soils very dry and expected rain next week will be welcome.

Slugs: no reports of any damage but risk may increase with wetter conditions.

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

West Midlands: Most wheat is now coming through evenly, with the heavier areas just about chittting (this weekend should sort it out once and for all if predicted rainfall occurs!!). Crops range from just sown through to 4 leaf stage. Some farms now completed drilling but localised heavy rain earlier in the week did put a stop to drilling on Tuesday. Most of the second wheat crops are now in.

Mildew: trace levels on early sown Grafton.

Slugs: with luck most crops will not be troubled by slugs even if we do get significant rain as growing so fast.

North East: Drilling has continued and going well. Crops now emerging up to first leaf. Rainfall for week: 4.4mm.

Aphids: monitoring T-sum, none seen yet.

Slugs: activity low after rape stubble – dry conditions helping.

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Winter Oilseed Rape

image from FoL

Myzus persicae (Peach-potato aphid) vector of Turnip Yellow Virus.

South East: Crops range 2 true leaf up to 6 leaves – 75% of crops are now around 3-4 true leaves.

Phoma: still none seen to date, even on volunteers in nearby rape stubbles with a very dry September is now likely to delay infection until mid-October at the earliest, meaning that some crops may well get away with a single Autumn fungicide this year in early November.

Flea beetle: shot holing of cotyledons/leaves still surprisingly hard to find to date despite low levels of activity starting to appear last week.

Slugs: 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.

Turnip Sawfly: first instar larvae being found in significant numbers. Pyrethroid has been applied to most crops in last 5-7 days to control larvae.

Weed control: significant flush of blackgrass in many fields where there is a history of the weed.

Eastern Counties: Crops now well established and growing rapidly at 4 to 6 leaf stage. Just a few thin areas on heavy soil and still applying slug pellets in some patches. Rain again last week was variable mainly around 10mm and has helped move crops on again

Phoma: none seen to date.

Flea beetle: Noticeably more shot holing on the few untreated fields. Plants now grown past the vulnerable stage for adult flea beetle damage.

Slugs: continuing to apply pellets in thin areas (poorer seedbeds = heavier soils) of a few fields.

Leaf miner: present – pyrethroid sprays appear to have controlled some of the larvae.

Cabbage root fly: some damage, taking plants out (a few) on earlier drilled fields especially, more than I have seen in recent years and mainly on lighter soils.

Aphids: a few aphids could be found yesterday, Myzus persicae just beginning to migrate into crops.

Volunteer control: Second flush of volunteer cereals present (volunteer barley particularly high populations and growing fast). A lot of thick brome on headlands in places. Poppies emerging through the pre-ems on some light fields.

East Midlands: Forward crops at 6-7 leaves and good ground cover, but later drilled crops still suffering from dry with plants from cotyledon to not emerged to 3 leaf in same field.

Phoma: none seen yet.

Flea beetle: still no damage seen and not a lot seen in water traps. Crops have got away well with no problems.

Aphids: first aphids found in one field but generally numbers so far low but will need monitoring.

Slugs: one or two delayed emergence fields having some damage but generally damage has been low with plants growing away from any potential damage fast.

Weed control: herbicides have worked reasonably well considering the dry conditions but some weeds have emerged but many crops will have full ground cover soon.

West Midlands: Heavy localised rain has got heavy land rape germinating/at cotyledon so should be fine. Established crops are really motoring on with most beyond three true leaf stage and some at 6-8 leaves and nearly knee height.

Phoma: none seen yet.

Flea beetle: heavy land crops sat in dry are starting to suffer. Damage is noticeably higher on fields sown next to grain stores.

Aphids: have inspected a lot of acres in the last two days and found very few peach-potato or mealy cabbage aphids.

Slugs: some fields have needed treating despite the dry.

Weed control: large number of volunteer cereals coming through especially after spring or winter barley. Fat-hen coming through pre-ems on light land.

North East: Good start to new crop with good germination seen across fields. Most crops range from one to 3 leaf.

Flea beetle: some low level activity. Yellow traps out.

Slugs: much lower than expected – dry conditions.

Weed control: pre–emergence herbicides showing effective start so far.

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Winter Barley

South East: Sowing now underway and earliest sown crops just starting to emerge.

Eastern Counties: Most crops are in and a lot emerging. Most forward crops at GS 11.

West Midlands: Not drilled to 3-4 leaf, most crops emerging quickly and evenly but some as wheat will need decent amount of rain to get dry cloddy areas to chit and emerge.

East Midlands: Drilled but none emerged yet.

North East: Drilling to GS10

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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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