Arable Autumn heralds fresh start for farming

successful start. Also of course if you have a significant grass weed problem then September drilling should not be contemplated at all.

Spray programmes Winter barley crops can go in to- wards the end of this month with few pitfalls, winter linseed also, but winter oats should wait until next month.

IN THE FIELD With autumn drilling under way, Richard Overthrow hopes for an uneventful farming year.

ing. Cereal drilling will start this month, exactly when depending on the individual grower’s nerve. Growers determined not to suf- fer a repeat of last autumn may even start before the middle of the month, especially if large ar- eas are to be drilled, but hopefully with slow developing and disease resistant or varieties tolerant to barley yellow dwarf virus (BYDV). Soil conditions will also be very relevant and if too dry then wheat will suffer. Remember, there is an old saying that you can drill bar- ley into dust and muddle wheat into porridge – but not the other way round. That said, it is bound to rain at some point in September so a little patience should produce a


t the start of a new season let’s hope it’s very normal and perhaps even bor-

If you do sow cereals in early or mid-September, unless growing a tolerant variety prepare to start the BYDV spray programme ear- ly, but aim to follow the T-sum sys- tem for accurate timings, availa- ble from AHDB and others. Fewer oilseed rape crops are grown locally now but any sown by now they will have successfully established or been written off. If the former there may still be some weed control treatments to apply. Belkar for example can go on later (from the two-leaf stage) but if planning to use metaza- chlor-based products at early post-emergence these need to be applied promptly as they are not very effective on established weeds.

In the early stages of establish- ment we also need to look out for aphids. If these move into small

Timely tips •

Establishing oilseed rape successfully continues to be a challenge on many farms

Any rape will either have successfully established or been written off

crops, before the four-leaf stage, then any virus they introduce can reduce yield (unless the vari- ety has resistance) so treatment would be necessary. Remember the aphid vector concerned is re- sistant to pyrethroids, so treat- ment will not be cheap.

Drill winter barley crops

• Prepare to control BYDV • Watch for phoma in rape

• Look out for autumn aphids

• Monitor for slugs carefully

Early sown crops Phoma may also be an issue, again more likely on the early sown crops. If it appears in September, and reaches threshold, it will need treating, though as with aphids there are varieties with good re- sistance now and these shouldn’t need such early treatment. Check regularly for volunteer cereals in rape crops; once these reach the two-leaf stage they be- come particularly competitive and should be removed by then. As ever slugs will need to be monitored carefully in all autumn

crops but only treated if damage is seen or slugs are found in bait traps. Growers may still be us- ing metaldehyde this autumn but preferably only in drier con- ditions. Stewardship guidelines should still be followed and fer- ric phosphate is still the preferred product, with several such prod- ucts now available.

Remember that in grass weed campaigns good seedbeds for pre-emergence herbicides are es- sential. Most products are suscep- tible to dry or cloddy seedbeds so if it takes a few more days to cre- ate a good seedbed then hold off and get it right.

It is easy to relate pre-emer- gence herbicide performance with autumn rainfall so much of it is out of our hands but if possible let soil moisture and seedbed quality dictate crop sowing date where re- sidual herbicides are to be used.

› Richard Overthrow is a region- al agronomist with NIAB TAG, the UK’s largest independent agrono- my organisation with several re- search centres in East Anglia. For more details, call 01223 342495.

JH Vaudrey & Son Ltd

Grain storage and handling Steel framed buildings Groundworks All types of concrete Turnkey projects

Phone: 01379 678459 Email:


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