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Report: 12 February 2010 (for week beginning 08 February 2010)

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

Winter oilseed rape: Light leaf spot appearing in crops in the south.

Winter wheat: Brown rust in the east but elsewhere Septoria is the only disease visible so far.

Winter Oilseed Rape

image from FoL

Purpling of leaves common
common from the cold
Photo Farming Online.

South East: Crops range form 5/6 to 9+ true leaves - crops are now at rosette stage, hugging the ground. They are generally looking reasonable after the snow and frosts, and have retained GAI of 1+ in most cases. Very little pigeon grazing to date.

Light leaf spot: first lesions are beginning to show now in crops where no fungicides were applied pre-Xmas.

Weed control: frost has proved to be a very effective natural "herbicide" on charlock in most crops this year. A few fields where rape has been grown closer than 1 year in 4/5 and headlands have moderate levels of hedge mustard.

South West: Rape now prostrate after the frost. A lot of older leaves lost but crop looks in good shape overall.

Weed control: charlock - despite apparent good kill from the frost, closer inspection of charlock patches reveals many surviving small plants so planned herbicide applications will still go ahead.

Eastern Counties: Rape crops are looking relatively well as snow has melted. Pigeon grazing is obvious on any areas where rape was 'sticking out' of the snow cover.

Pigeons: currently presenting a real threat as crops have opened up as older leaves die and flocks are beginning to amass and get into backward areas.

Weed control: charlock seems to have suffered badly during cold weather, but effects vary from field to field and we are still assessing whether or not to apply some herbicide to help it on its way.

East Midlands: Generally crops are ok if bedraggled with a lot of old leaf loss. No new growth seen yet.

Pigeons: now found on most crops with some big flocks. Slow new growth will be at risk.

Weed control: Herbicide applications appear to be working well with usual stem symptoms but weeds still look quite green in one or two crops even where herbicide activity seen, assuming it is down to weeds being 'refrigerated' during cold weather, although what slow growth has done to uptake we will have to wait and see.

West Midlands: Crops range from bare ground (due to pigeons) through to overly large crops. However, majority have come through the winter reasonably well if a little purple in places.

Weed control: charlock in oilseed rape crops has been totally destroyed by the frosts; runch on the other hand has survived. At the moment the ground conditions are lousy even the light ground is too wet to do anything and cannot see anything being done for at least a fortnight.

North East: All crops have lost a lot of leaves over the winter, but they are well rooted and will grow away well as soon as good conditions prevail. Soils are very wet and cold, and only passable when frosty.

Light leaf spot: the autumn fungicide appears to have worked well, but most plants are showing a lot of weather and pigeon damage so difficult to assess at the moment.

Weed control: Some crops have dense infestations of runch and charlock. A few were sprayed with herbicide in December and control looks good. Infestations that have not been sprayed have been badly damaged by the frosts but stem dissection shows them to be still alive and no doubt will grow strongly as conditions improve.

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Winter Wheat

image from FoL

A lot of dead leaves in the
base of some crops.
Photo Farming Online.

South East: Still a few fields after lettuce to drill with Soissons - drying wind beginning to dry out soil well in last few days so hopefully will be sown by early next week! Growth stages range from emergence to GS 13 to 22/23, with bulk of crops now at around GS23+. Prolonged cold weather since mid December has effectively curtailed crop growth for nearly 2 months now, but with little rain in last 2 weeks at least soils are beginning to dry out.

Brown rust: none seen.

Yellow rust: none seen.

Mildew: gone in the frosts.

Weed control: some significant populations of blackgrass evident following pre-/peri-emergence herbicides - growth stages range from GS12-23 now, but fortunately little growth has happened in last 2 months of cold weather.

South West: All wheat still at tillering stage. Very early drillings which made a lot of growth in the early autumn have lost leaf although more than enough remains. Manganese deficiency is becoming more evident but ground is not really fit to travel on. Manganese seed treatments appear to have been effective.

Brown rust: gone in the frosts.

Yellow rust: frost keeping it at bay for now.

Mildew: gone in the frosts.

Weed control: fields which missed treatment last autumn in non-blackgrass situations have high annual meadow grass populations.

Eastern Counties: Crops range from one to seven tillers but the majority are at the three tiller stage. Sporadic snow cover during early February. Hard night frosts. Soils at field capacity apart from very light land.

Brown rust: odd pustules on susceptible varieties; Duxford, Zebedee, Cordiale.

Yellow rust: none seen.

Mildew: disease present on late drilled crops and on susceptible varieties, Solstice, Conqueror and Claire, but not active.

Septoria: apparent in early drilled and forward crops. Disease not very active.

Weed control: blackgrass present and tillering, plants not actively growing and no action until ground warms up.

East Midlands: Generally crops look well considering cold conditions but a few look a bit stressed and "greyish". Generally fields very wet and no activity possible at present. Soil temps remain at 2-3 deg C.

Brown rust: none seen.

Yellow rust: none seen.

Mildew: gone in the frosts.

Septoria: lesions found on older leaves.

Weed control: careful choice of herbicide where meadow grass has started to tiller.

West Midlands: Crops range from GS 25 to GS 11. Some drilled in January just chitting. Lot of dead leaves in bottom of forward crops. Drying up nicely over the last 4-5 days, but still too cold to apply any herbicides. Some frost lift evident where soil has either been waterlogged or where soil wash has taken place during the rapid thaw of 3 weeks ago. Still have a fair acreage with no autumn herbicide.

Brown rust: none seen.

Yellow rust: none seen.

Mildew: sorted out by the cold weather.

Septoria: low levels on bottom leaves.

Weed control: in unsprayed crops annual meadow grass varies between quite a lot (particularly on headlands) to very little. Late applied product has taken a long while to kick in (10 weeks ) but grass weeds now showing signs of dying.

North East: All crops are well tillered, and the hard winter has stopped too much growth. Even early sown first wheats are quite dense but not very big. There have been only a couple of days when fields have been passable since mid-December and they are no better now. Rainfall was 80mm in December, 75mm in January and 23mm so far in February.

Brown rust: none seen.

Yellow rust: none seen.

Mildew: gone in the frosts.

Septoria: usual lesions found on older leaves.

Weed control: some fields have high levels of blackgrass in them now. The worst infestations are on headlands and in scattered patches across some fields. Herbicide control was applied to fields last autumn before the weather stopped play. Where it was applied control looks good. Where it wasn't there are some dense patches of tillered blackgrass to control now.

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Winter Barley

Nationally: Showing typical late winter yellowness.

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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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