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Five agronomy tips for Scottish growers to consider in October

Crop Progress

It was a long, dragged out harvest in Scotland, but most growers finally finished by mid-September. That has made sowing autumn crops a little more difficult. The exception was winter barley harvest, which was cut early and has been a good tool for early entry into oilseed rape.

Those oilseed rape crops that were established early are motoring and look promising. But it is possible some might need the brakes putting on. Cabbage stem flea beetle hasn’t been a huge issue, although there have been some reports of damage in the Borders. Generally establishment has been good.

Most winter barley will have already been drilled, and some wheat was drilled in September too. With the short window because of the delayed harvest there wasn’t much chance for a stale seedbed.


Craig's agronomy tips for October

1. Protect oilseed rape crops from light leaf spot

2. Check out new options for weed control

3. Destroy green bridges for BYDV control


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North: 4 pointers for agronomy in the north in October

Crop Progress

There has been the full set of drilling dates for oilseed rape from 1 August through to mid-September in Yorkshire. Early drilled crops are 8-10 true leaves, with some big leafy plants that are potentially going to need some management from growth regulators. Moisture in the seedbed has been massive, and it will be interesting to see the influence from companion cropping on establishment too.

These early drilled crops are now big enough to survive all but a cataclysmic influx of adult cabbage stem flea beetles, but will need watching for larvae.

The later drilled crops are much smaller and more at risk from CSFB adults. Of these, perhaps 50-60% have suffered some shot-holing damage, but I’ve only heard of the odd field being written off at this stage (end of September), which is good news. Fields drilled after the August bank holiday are those most at risk of being written off.

Judging by the level of interest in the Dekalb Establishment Scheme guarantee, I think growers appreciated the scheme, which pays £100/bag if the crop is written off before the end of October.

Around 20-25% of wheat crops have been drilled in Yorkshire as we approach the end of September. But now major rain has arrived, it will be all hands to the pump when conditions allow.


James' agronomy tips for October

1. Use disease resistance ratings to help decide on disease control in OSR

2. Follow best practice for stubble management pre-drilling

3. Consider new actives in your grassweed control programme

4. Earlier drilling could increase risk from BYDV


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Five agronomy tips for the west as the new seasons begins

Crop Progress

Growers have been cracking on with winter cereals drilling in the west, with 40% already drilled by the third week in September – a far cry from last year. Oilseed rape establishment is perhaps 10% down on average in the region, with a larger proportion drilled earlier than previously.  Potato crops are being harvested with variable yields.


Gareth’s agronomy tips for October

1. Watch out for Phoma and light leaf spot in oilseed rape

2. Check sprayer capacity and consider contractors for weed control in cereals

3. Make use of a range of active ingredients for grassweed control

4. Make the most of pre-emergence weed control in winter barley

5. Use available alerts to help understand BYDV risk


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East: 3 key agronomic decisions this October

Crop Progress

I’m sure most cereal growers will be pleased to shut the door on the 2020 harvest season, and focus on 2021. For those who have wanted to establish oilseed rape, there is a much more positive feeling about the crop this year.

Crops drilled in the first part of August, or even earlier, had plants with up to 8 true leaves towards the end of September, and missed that peak period of cabbage stem flea beetle migration. Fortunately, the pressure this season has also been lower than previous seasons, but the key has been the moisture has been there in the seedbeds. Crops drilled later, particularly in the south Suffolk, north Essex area, have been lacking that moisture and struggled more with some having to be ripped up.

Overall the area might be back 30%, but a lot more has survived than this time last year and most looks pretty well.

A number of growers started drilling cereals in September, with rye the number one priority for those growing it. Hopefully where it has gone in, it is on the lower grassweed population land. Where grassweeds are an issue ideally you should be waiting until October to drill, although after last year’s weather it is understandable that growers wanted to make a start. I doubt many will be wanting to drill in November this season.

Sugar beet factories are open, but predictions are for a lower yield this year. Most of that will be down to the lack of moisture in seedbeds, but you can’t go past many fields without seeing the virus yellows issues.

Ella's agronomy tips for October

1. Consider disease control risks in oilseed rape

2. Plan weed control programmes in cereals

3. BYDV is another reason to consider delaying drilling


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Herbicides BYDV oilseed rape and drilling date 4 tips for October in the Midlands

Crop Progress

Some nutters, I mean eager growers, started drilling wheat in September, but you can’t blame them after last season. Generally it has been on the less seriously grassweed infested land. I do know of some farm managers that have hidden the tractor keys or gone on holiday to ensure they couldn’t start drilling.

But there’s probably no more than 10-15% wheat drilled yet, plus the winter barley.

Oilseed rape is all over the show. Probably around 50% of growers have given it another go, and the area is back perhaps by 25% overall on last year. Most crops drilled in the early part of August have got away well and are around 3-4 true leaves, while that drilled after has struggled much more with dry weather and cabbage stem flea beetle attack.

Ben's agronomy tips for October

1. Delay drilling wheat until mid-October if possible

2. Consider splitting pre-emergence herbicide stacks

3. Check for Phoma and light leaf spot in oilseed rape

4. Use BYDV tools to help judge risk


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How to get new crops off to the best start in October in the south west

Crop Progress

With few viable alternatives available for the rotation, many growers have decided to give oilseed rape another go and see if it survived, and it is perhaps only 10% down in the region. Those crops which were drilled early are looking strong, with some reaching 6-7 true leaves by late September.

The moisture they were drilled into has been key and helped them grow away from adult cabbage stem flea beetle damage, although whether they will have a larval problem later is another matter. There are some localised hotspots where cabbage stem flea beetle has devastated crops, but generally establishment has been better this autumn.

Wheat drilling began in September for some growers, especially those on heavier soils to insure themselves against similar weather issues as last autumn. But most with problem grassweeds have been holding their nerve so far.

Matt’s agronomy tips for October

1. Look after oilseed rape crops off to a decent start

2. Early drilled wheat crops are likely to need higher spend for grassweed control

3. Use alerts and follow IPM guidance for BYDV control

4. Movento and FLiPPER could be options for mealy cabbage aphid in cauliflowers


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