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Very close up shot of wheat crop ears in field

Report: 16 October 2015 (for week beginning 12 October 2015)

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

: 16 Oct 2015. Sowing of winter cereals nears completion as most report good sowing conditions over the last week. Slug activity has increased in some areas after recent rains particularly in the South and East of the country. Phoma levels have increased dramatically in the South mainly on fields sown in close proximity to last year's crop. Elsewhere phoma is reported but below threshold levels.

Phoma at threshold levels in south and appearing in all regions.:

Slugs active increased in some areas but it is patchy.:

Turnip sawfly at low levels in southern oilseed rape crops.:

Blackgrass emerging in oilseed rape crops.:

Winter Wheat

image from FoL

Drilling winter wheat (picture from Farming Online).

South East: Around 90-95% of wheat area has now been drilled, with good progress in the last 7 days since 30-40mm of rain that fell on 5th/6th October. Some lower lying and poorly drained blocks are only just drying out enough to hopefully allow drilling next week. Forage maize harvesting is now well underway and should be completed by the end of next week (cool conditions of last 6 weeks has really slowed up maturation) and most fields will be drilled shortly afterwards. Soils generally remain moist or very moist below the surface but are drying on top following continuing breezy conditions this week.

Slugs: massive slug populations are evident in some fields after oilseed rape and with a combination of cool soils and nights slowing emergence and despite generally good seedbeds, a degree of grain hollowing and subterranean grazing can be found. Populations are, however, much lower on those fields that were disced/cultivated twice pre-drilling. Cobblier areas of fields on heavier/stonier soils are also showing some shredding of emerged plants. Otherwise, with the exception of second wheat fields on heavier soils there is very little slug activity of note.

Eastern Counties: Earliest drilled wheat crops now at GS 13/21. However, the majority of crops are at GS 11/12. Second wheats going in or drilled.

Slugs: some farms have nasty hotspots that are getting severe seed or plant loss despite pelleting. Many tiny slugs are the culprits.

Weed control: first emerging blackgrass in earliest drilled wheat getting to two leaf stage.

East Midlands: Drilling almost done with blackgrass fields being the last in apart for wheat after maize – forward crops at GS 11. Soils good with dry conditions enabling good seedbeds. Pre-ems nearly all on or to go on after latest drillings.

Slugs: no damage seen to emerging crops but one case of grain hollowing even where seed treatments used requiring prompt pelleting. On the whole good seedbeds have allowed seed to be sown with plenty of soil around them.

West Midlands: Crops range from newly sown through to two leaf stage with all crops now in except those following maize or late lifted root crops. Fantastic field conditions mean that as crops are drilled they are sprayed with no issues regarding ruts etc. Main issue now is that where crops have been ploughed and then drilled on heavy land we are getting patchy germination/emergence. Hate to say it but we could do with 10-15mm of rain over a 2 day period.

Slugs: still having isolated issues primarily on heavy soils and or unrolled crops, especially where large amounts of trash.

Gout Fly: early sown crops easy to find eggs.

North East: Crops range from still being drilled, there were some delayed by showers coming in from the North Sea, to GS12. 90% of drilling complete. Slight Drop in average temperature over this week.

Slugs: activity increased this week with more soil moisture for slugs to move.

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Winter Oilseed Rape

image from FoL

Phoma makes an early appearance in crops (picture from Farming Online).

South East: September sown crops are now generally around 2-4 leaves, with August sown crops around 5-6 leaves. Growth remains painfully slow this year due to combination of delayed sowing into September and a run of cold nights meaning soil temperatures are several degrees cooler than last Autumn.

Flea Beetle: shot holing of leaves has again fortunately been at generally low levels this year to date, though there has been a slight resurgence in activity again this week.

Phoma: most crops are now showing leaf spotting with levels ranging from 5% up to 30-40%, with the latter generally being fields in close proximity to last year's rape fields – with infections typically showing on 1st or 2nd true leaves, cool conditions should slow progression down the petioles.

Slugs: with wet soils and delayed sowing, slugs have unsurprisingly been quite problematic on a range of soil types, particularly in areas where seedbeds poorer and “strawy”.

Turnip sawfly: low levels of larvae found this week in a few August sown fields that have had no pyrethroid applied to date.

Weed control: significant flush in many fields with history of blackgrass or where there was poor control in previous cereals. Emergence coinciding with crop emergence.

Eastern Counties: Most crops beyond the cotyledon stage, and now range from 1-5 leaf stage. Recent rain has moistened things up again. Generally good growing conditions though cooler now. Rabbits causing localised crop loss.

Flea Beetle: pressure decreasing and restricted to smaller plants in stands, activity may have slowed in cooler conditions.

Phoma: first few lesions being found. However, threshold not reached anywhere yet in crops.

Slugs: low levels only.

Weed control: high populations of blackgrass emerging. Graminicides imminent or applied but earliest treatments have had mixed results on blackgrass and ryegrass, good control of volunteer cereals.

East Midlands: Forward crops at 6-7 leaves with later crops at 2 leaves.

Flea Beetle: not really a problem for establishment now.

Phoma: very low so far but a few lesions seen in one block of Charger but still a long way off threshold.

Slugs: odd crops requiring pelleting but on the whole most crops are now growing away from any damage.

West Midlands: Crops range from 2-3 true leaf to monster crops covering the ground.

Flea Beetle: very low damage to date, most damage on those crops adjacent to last years rape fields (all drilled with wheat now).

Slugs: no crops required pelleting this week.

Phoma: started coming in mid/end of last week.

North East: All crops range from 2 leaf to 6 leaf. Crops are generally healthy, although later drilled crops need more attention for pest control.

Flea Beetle: patchy activity from field to field, but no crop losses.

Slugs: increased activity this week with showery weather. About 25% of crops still 2-3 leaf and need to be watched.

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Winter Barley

South East: Sowing all completed and earliest sown crops now at 3 leaves.

Eastern Counties: Earliest drilled crops at GS 11. Majority of drilling now done.

East Midlands: Crops now drilled and just starting to emerge.

West Midlands: 95% now in, majority of crops are emerging to GS13.

North East: About 40% of the crop now sown but none has emerged yet.

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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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