With the last dregs of harvest being completed, everyone is flat out drilling.
Seed-beds, up to now, have been excellent and part one of next year’s cropping is going well.
I have listened to and agreed with the blackgrass experts about the value of delayed drilling until mid-October. Unfortunately, this is seldom an option for the North. We are far better altering rotations and ensuring that crops are drilled in good conditions and sprayed pre-emergence with a stacked herbicide mixture.
Flufenacet-based products will be the cornerstone of the programmes and, despite a straight formulation being available, co-formulations will be my preferred recommendation.
The first drilled wheat’s are now emerging and have had no slug problems so far. Very few pellets have been applied and with good seed-beds, I am hoping this remains the case.
The emerging crops will be closely monitored and top-ups of further herbicides will be applied as required.
The Rothamsted aphid monitor is already picking up high numbers of cereal aphids.
Crops drilled early with Deter (clothianidin) seed dressing should be covered for about six weeks from drilling, but those not dressed will need close monitoring and potentially an early spray.
Understanding which aphids are present will help guide product selection.
Gout fly is also an issue for these early-drilled crops. The eggs are 3-5mm long, cylindrical, cream coloured and lay on individual leaves. Pyretheroid sprays offer good control of the eggs if levels are deemed to be high.
It is sad to say but the march of cabbage stem flea beetles from the South is carrying on at a pace and we have more issues this year than last.
Crops drilled after winter barley in mid-August have shot out of the ground and are starting to look big. Unfortunately, those drilled later are battling with flea beetle and to a lesser extent slugs.