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Crop Advice & Expertise

Monitor for these agronomic threats and opportunities this November in Scotland

Grant Reid finds Scottish growers a few things to keep an eye on in November.

Crop Progress

Early drilled oilseed rape is looking really well with the diameter of some root collars already 1cm as we approach the end of October. This is what you should be looking for going through the winter.

Crops drilled after spring barley in the middle of September were struggling up until some rain at the beginning of October, and since then has come on leaps and bounds, although it is obviously much smaller than the earlier drilled stuff.

There have been some signs of some cabbage stem flea beetle damage on lighter land, and also slug damage, but nothing major. Bigger plants will cope with adult flea beetle attacks now, and with temperatures still mild in October they’re still growing well.

All the winter barley was drilled in good time before the weather broke, and most folk are sprayed up as well, which is encouraging.

In the region of 80-85% of the wheat is drilled, with only crops after potatoes really still left to go in. Some growers started drilling in August, with most going in from mid-September. The early drilled crops are starting to tiller. Where growers have planned autumn herbicides, these are also mostly applied.

 

Grant's agronomy tips for November

1. Watch out for light leaf spot in oilseed rape

The AHDB’s recent light leaf spot forecast is relatively low, but for Scotland it suggests 37-40% of susceptible varieties will have more than 25% of plants affected by the disease by spring.

That might change some grower’s view on whether to treat this autumn, but either way it is worth monitoring for the disease, especially with the mild and wet weather we’ve had, which will favour its development.

Bayer’s SpotCheck service is a useful aid for those who want to check for possible light leaf spot infections. Last year, infections were found by SpotCheck from the end of November, which was much earlier than the previous season. The latent period can be long too. In an ADAS trial last season where they incubated leaf samples as well as doing a visual assessment of the field, it was around eight weeks after symptoms had been found by incubation that visible symptoms were seen in the field.

If you are planning to spray, then Proline (prothioconazole) at 0.35-0.46 L/ha depending on risk and size of plants, with smaller plants being more at risk, is a good option.

 

2. Finish drilling any last planned wheat

October has been wet, so any further wheat drilling will be difficult. But if we do get a spell of frosts, it can be amazing how quickly the land can dry out, so don’t completely shut the door on the potential to get wheat in, if you’re still wanting to plant some more. There has been more wheat planned this season than most because of the oversupply in the spring barley market.

Most herbicides have been applied, and with difficulty now in travelling, most will have shut the gate on further applications. If it does dry up, those with black-grass might want to consider a follow-up residual at the back end, while those with annual meadowgrass could look to Liberator (flufenacet + diflufenican) at 0.3 L/ha as an early post-emergence spray rather than waiting until spring to apply Othello (mesosulfuron + iodosufuron + diflufenican).

 

3. Continue to monitor for aphids

Most growers have been able to shut the gate on cereal crops this side of Christmas now.

But since it has been so mild and crops went into the ground early, it is worth continuing to monitor for aphids that transmit barley yellow dwarf virus. Use the AHDB T-Sum calculator for predicting when you might need to be monitoring, and potentially treating.

That said, travelling on these wet soils will be a challenge currently.