Four detailed agronomic insights this October in the Midlands
Oilseed rape establishment is highly variable again ranging from crops with 7-8 leaves to stuff that was written off in early September. It’s partly drilling date, but mostly the lottery of moisture. Even on the same farm, there are fields that haven’t made it, a few miles away from those that have.
The earlier drilled crops have generally escaped adult cabbage stem flea beetle, although some succumbed to slugs. Some of the later drilled crops both hit a dry spell and that warm weather at the end of August when flea beetles came out in force.
But there’s more this season that’s looking good than perhaps even last season – probably because a greater percentage was drilled earlier.
Some people had already ventured out to start drilling wheat by the third week of September, but relatively few. Where they have it is more in the Cotswolds where grassweed pressure is generally lower than in Bucks and Northants.
But most growers were holding their nerve, although probably not for much longer. I think the 10th October rather than the 15th might be a common point to kick off. Luckily most have been saved by reasonable yields and prices last season so it’s not like the awful October drilling window last autumn has been as detrimental to business as it could have been. Hopefully that will mean growers see sense as they know what will happen with grassweeds if they drill early.
Ben’s agronomy tips for October
1. Cover early drilling weed control windows
2. Follow up pre-emergence applications within 10-14 days
3. Concentrate on pre-emergence in any later drilled winter barley
4. Assess whether you need an autumn disease control spray in oilseed rape