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Very close up shot of wheat crop ears in field

Report: 27 November 2009 (for week beginning 23 November 2009)

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

Field conditions: Wind and rain have brought field work to a halt in most parts of the country, with many reports of no spraying possible for over two weeks. Soil temperatures are still unseasonably high but are set to fall quickly over the week.

Disease progress: Mild conditions have allowed the rusts to appear which doesn't bode well for next spring. Fortunately, Phoma still reluctant to get going.

Highlights

Winter Oilseed Rape
  • Most advanced crops at 12 leaf stage.
  • Slug damage very low.
  • Phoma control delayed.
Winter Wheat
  • Early sown crops at GS 24.
  • Emergence evens up.
  • Brown rust in South.
  • Mildew slows down.
  • Slugs activity increased.
  • Blackgrass emerging quickly.
Winter Barley
  • Crops established well.
  • Net blotch in the East.
Cross compliance
  • Make sure that 2m headlands are maintained where necessary.
Soil temperature
  • 8 degrees C and falling.

Winter Oilseed Rape

image from FoL

Backward crops struggle
in the wet
Photo Farming Online.

South East: The most advanced crops at 9+ true leaves - bulk of crops are now around 5-6+ true leaves. Most advanced and thickest crops had fungicide applied in last 2-3 weeks of October for PGR effects.

Phoma: first Phoma lesions just appearing but at very low levels and most fields still have no symptoms.

Weed control: at present soils are far too wet (drains running) and soil temperatures are still around 9-10 degrees C, so unlikely to be any spraying before December/January.

South West: Growth is slowing down as we progress into winter. Older leaves now being shed as soil N supply diminishes.

Phoma: most crops now being inspected are at or around 5-10% infection levels.

Powdery mildew: no further development.

Weed control: very high levels of blackgrass but good control from September applied herbicide.

Eastern Counties: Growth rate slowed, some loss of lower leaves. Pigeons starting to be a nuisance on weaker areas. Rabbits have also encroached from some field margins. Most fields have complete canopy cover with rape a good colour. Still waiting to apply recommendations made over two weeks ago, wet and windy.

Phoma: levels slowly increasing. Waiting to apply outstanding phoma sprays because of recent difficult spraying conditions.

Powdery mildew: levels and incidence have not increased.

Slugs: most rape is past the slug vulnerable stage.

Weed control: a mass of fat hen emerging on light fields but this never typically survives the winter.

East Midlands: Some crops extremely forward at 8-10 leaves with majority of crops at 6-8 leaves. No real change although some thicker crops have tended to look a bit stressed this last week.

Phoma: just showing in many crops. Where phoma sprays yet to be applied priority given to varieties with very low phoma ratings and any backward crops with small plants.

Slugs: crops too big to worry about any slug damage.

Pigeons: starting to flock on some crops.

Weed control: blackgrass - with cooler soils and now rain, herbicides to go on when conditions allow. In a few thick crops may have to wait for leaf dieback to be able to hit soil.

West Midlands: Growth has slowed and many crops are too thick. Some late sown crops struggling in wet conditions.

Phoma: first signs. No crops at threshold levels.

Light leaf spot: first signs.

Slugs: early sown crops now beyond having any problems with slugs, slug damage on some fields where no pellets applied.

Weed control: patches of charlock now showing but too early to control yet.

North East: Most forward have 9-12 leaves but older leaves are falling back now leaving crops more open. Crops still have good colour despite the wet conditions.

Phoma: treated crops staying clean, but untreated are showing higher levels of Phoma now although still barely at threshold. Still a lot to be sprayed as conditions permit.

Weed control: there are some dense patches of Runch and Charlock showing in a few crops now.

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Winter Wheat

image from FoL

Emergence evens up after the rains.
Photo Farming Online.

HGCA: survey indicates higher numbers of wheat bulb fly eggs this autumn

South East: Growth stages range from emergence to GS 11 to 22/23, with bulk of crops now at around GS 21-22+. Earlier crops sown into dry seedbeds still variable with dual growth stages in many fields, ranging from GS 21-24+. Soils are now very wet after 100mm+ rain in last 14 days and many lower lying fields now too wet to spray for time being. Ongoing wet and windy weather seriously hampering spraying - we have now not had a spraying day for over 2 weeks.

Brown rust: low levels now being found in earlier sown Claire.

Mildew: moderately high levels on older leaves of Claire/Cordiale in particular.

Slugs: with wet soils and warm nights slug activity has increased again in last week on stonier/heavier areas of fields, with shredding damage being largely caused by juvenile slugs.

Weed control: significant flush of blackgrass evident now and growing away from pre-/peri-emergence herbicides, even in fields where control has been good in last few years - warm, moist soils seem to be encouraging blackgrass to break dormancy and establish quickly with emerged wheat.

South West: Growth has slowed as days shorten. Growth stages vary from GS 12 to 26 with mid September drillings strongly tillered. Earlier mildew and slight brown rust has faded. Land extremely wet with water lying in the tramlines. Little prospect of any spraying unless we have a sustained dry spell although as this is likely to bring lower temperatures conditions for contact materials may not be ideal.

Brown rust: no increase.

Yellow rust: low levels seen in Oakley volunteers on over wintered stubbles.

Mildew: levels have dropped except in the densest crops in sheltered areas.

Aphids: a few winged aphids seen.

Slugs: are active (not just after rape) and are feeding on the emerging shoot below ground level. Continued mild weather is required for these areas to produce a satisfactory plant stand.

Weed control: blackgrass generally being held by pre ems although a few dense patches on difficult sites where seed beds were dry are giving cause for concern and will be targeted with herbicide at earliest opportunity.

Bromes: very high emergence of sterile bromes in non plough situations will be targeted with specific herbicide.

East Midlands: Little change in growth with forward crops at GS 22-23 and later crops at GS 13. Fields fine for travel but wind and showers has meant no field work possible. Odd field now getting wet headlands and will need a few days to travel but most field will travel if weather calms down.

Mildew: some mildew found on Solstice but not at any worrying levels.

Aphids: numbers generally low.

Slugs: damage now almost non existent and many spray stores have many bags of unused pellets.

Weed control: blackgrass romping away now with many fields with blackgrass at 2-3 leaves where nothing two weeks ago. Many crops destined to have herbicide treatment still waiting. Later crops, after maize or late second wheat, do not have a lot more blackgrass emergence.

West Midlands: Crops range from emerging through to GS 26. Some early drilled fields are anywhere from 2-3 leaves up to GS 26 in the same field. Ground conditions now at a point where we need several dry days before spraying can continue.

Mildew: almost all varieties have low level of mildew.

Aphids: no new arrivals.

Slugs: getting problems on wheat after oats, and some problems with min tilled wheat again where drilled early and slow to get away.

Weed control: most crops sprayed but some later ones still to treat. Recent rains have brought field work to a halt.

Eastern Counties: Most wheat at early tillering stage. Fields after sugar beet and potatoes very wet with some water laying on the soil surface. Majority of fields travelling well.

Mildew: Claire and Viscount have a lot of mildew.

Slugs: activity dropping off with cooler temperatures but have had high levels of leaf stripping on cloddy and unconsolidated seedbed especially after oilseed rape. Some late drilled wheat seed has been hollowed out.

Aphids: heavy rain, colder night temperatures plus high winds have decreased numbers.

Weed control: blackgrass levels variable from nil to 3 tillered on forward drilled crops. 2-3 leaf blackgrass appearing in crops recently drilled now being treated with contact herbicide where seedbeds are fine and consolidated. Growth of blackgrass slowing due to a decrease in temperature.

North East: Most forward wheats have 3-4 tillers and because an above average percentage of seeds have successfully established some of these crops are very thick now. Later sown crops at early tillering. Land is fairly wet now. Short days with few good drying conditions has meant no spray applications this week. One dry day though will be enough to get us going again.

Mildew: none seen.

Slugs: conditions are ideal for slugs but only a few areas of grazing been seen.

Weed control: where blackgrass is at 3 leaves or more the plan is to spray as soon as have good conditions. For now soil temperatures are not an issue.

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Winter Barley

South East: Crops now at early tillering. Blackgrass now coming through pre-emergence treatments.

South West: Now thick and lush after sustained damp, relatively mild growing conditions.

Eastern region: Majority of crops now at early tillering and have picked up since the rain. Min-tilled crops into barley stubbles have high levels of net blotch.

East Midlands: Crops at early tillering and look very well.

West Midlands: Crops growing very rapidly considering the time of year.

North East: Severe yellowing in compacted areas of fields that are becoming water-logged. Varying levels of mildew in most crops now - Cassia and Saffron with highest but still not severe levels.

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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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