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Crop Advice & Expertise

4 activities for Scottish growers to consider doing in November

Grant Reid looks at four potential activities for Scottish growers to consider doing before Christmas.

Crop Progress

Cereal drilling in Scotland was about 80% complete overall by mid-October, with some growers all drilled up. The main area left to be drilled was after potatoes, which were still being lifted at that point. While the weather forecast for the rest of October is a bit more mixed, I’m still optimistic as this is written that more wheat can be planted if the weather plays ball.

Most crops that have been drilled seem to have been sprayed with a residual or had a post-emergence herbicide applied. Growth stages ranged from one leaf to tillering, and crops are looking very promising for this time of year.


Grant’s agronomy tips for November

1. Be aware of slugs for later drilled wheat

If the last bit of wheat drilling is delayed and / or it goes wet be aware of slugs. Use an integrated approach to control, including things like cultural controls to reduce slug habitats and using bait traps with layers mash to see what slug numbers are like before you start using pellets.

If you need to pellet I’d be inclined to use ferric phosphate, but with it being the last season of use for metaldehyde, obviously if that’s in the spray store there will be a certain amount of desire to use it up. In that case, use it on the middle of the fields, and apply ferric phosphate to the edges and areas of higher risk of runoff.

2. Apply residual herbicide to any late drilled wheat if possible

Sow it, roll it and spray it is a good mantra for autumn cereal drilling, and that will certainly give a bit less to worry about when it comes to the spring.

It will depend on your weed targets what that residual herbicide will be, but in my patch in Scotland it’s mainly annual meadowgrass and broadleaved weeds so a base of Liberator (flufenacet + diflufenican) will be a good starting point.

If you need to add anything else, it will depend on what weeds you have, but options include prosulfocarb or pendimethalin. Where there are more difficult grass weed issues, the addition of Proclus (aclonifen) and / or tri-allate are good choices.

The alternative option for annual meadowgrass and broadleaved weeds if you can’t get a pre-emergence on is to use Othello (mesosulfuron + iodosulfuron + diflufenican) post-emergence, although it is perhaps more of a spring option.

3. Protect good looking oilseed rape crops

Oilseed rape is motoring to the extent there are crops that look like they could do with a flock of sheep on them. Even the later drilled crops are cracking on, and I don’t think many crops will struggle to get to that 1cm collar diameter at the top of the root you’re aiming for as they go into winter.

Most growers will be looking to put on some trace elements, such as boron and molybdenum as we head into winter, and some will be considering a spray for rape winter stem weevil. There’s no exact threshold or forecasting system for this pest, but it’s about trying to stop adults laying eggs. It can cause significant damage in some cases through taking out the main raceme of the plant, from which the plant never really recovers.

If growers are doing either of these sprays, then it could coincide with timing for protecting the crop from light leaf spot. At the current price of oilseed rape, it’s worth doing, if needed.

There was quite a lot of light leaf spot around last season, so use the usual tools to help determine risk such as variety resistance rating, farm history and field location – is it close to where oilseed rape was last season, for example.

Additionally, there’s our SpotCheck service where you can send samples to ADAS for disease diagnosis. Request a sample pack here

Options for controlling light leaf spot include Aviator (bixafen + prothioconazole), as well as Proline (prothioconazole). The SDHI in bixafen brings a second mode of action to control the disease, which is helpful as Rothamsted research has suggested that a mix of actives helps to protect the prothioconazole from resistance development.

Aviator’s Leafshield formulation also brings advantages through quicker rainfastness, which is helpful in Scottish conditions, plus potential plant physiological benefits such as greening as well as the disease control benefits.

4. Could you be a Voluntary Initiative champion?

The Scottish Voluntary Initiative is looking for VI Champions. These growers advocate forward-thinking farming practices to help others learn about practical integrated pest management practices on farm and drive towards environmentally sustainable farming.

If you’re interested in understanding more about what is involved in being a VI Champion, please get in touch via


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