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Crop Advice & Expertise

Jobs for February: How to plan agronomy for crops this spring in Scotland

Grant Reid takes a look at four jobs growers in Scotland can do in preparation for warmer weather this February.

Crop Progress

The gate is likely to be firmly shut on most crops in Scotland until March. Oilseed rape crops at the back end of last year were looking good, and up until the end of January about the only possible activity would be getting any propyzamide applied for grassweeds in the crop.

Infection levels in oilseed rape with light leaf spot were quite high, but the cold, frosty days in the last month should have meant the disease should have subsided slightly.

 

Grant's agronomy and planning tips for February

1. Monitor for pigeons in oilseed rape

So far, reports of pigeons in oilseed rape crops have been quiet but I did see one field which I would describe as “grey” just into the New Year.

Backward crops in particular though need looking out for, so get prepared to use the usual array of scarers, bangers, flying things to keep pigeons away.

 

2. Check disease levels in oilseed rape with Spotcheck

While it is unlikely that many growers will be looking to spray before March it will be worth keeping an eye on light leaf spot infection levels during February so you are prepared to go at early stem extension with a Proline (prothioconazole) if infections are spotted.

The Bayer Spotcheck service is helpful – samples are sent off to ADAS and can confirm whether any leaves sampled are carrying light leaf spot or any other oilseed rape disease within a few days.

3. Assess wheat fields for weeds

February is a good time to walk wheat fields to assess weed burdens and identify any brome patches, so you know what you are going to be targeting for weed control.

Once growthy conditions start, especially for weeds like brome, you’re going to want to be getting on. In theory you could be treating in February with Pacifica Plus (mesosulfuron + iodosulfuron + amidosulfuron) but it’s unlikely in reality unless ground conditions allow.

4. Use a good formulation of glyphosate if destroying cover crops

If you’re planning to spray off cover crops with glyphosate, then in cooler conditions the surfactants and superior formulation of Roundup products will increase reliability. Assess what species you have in the cover and match the rate of glyphosate to those hardest to kill, such as fodder radish for example. A good water volume will help increase penetration into the cover.