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Crop Health Updates - November 2019

General Comments

There was a brief respite last week from the persistent rain and some welcome clear autumn sunshine so there was a final burst of autumn drilling.  The return to heavy rain has pretty much called autumn operations to a halt for many for the most part all that can be attempted to autumn drill crops has been done.  Most of the acreage that has been missed will now move to spring cropping. Fields are getting hard to travel on so it is likely that missed herbicides and autumn applied light leaf spot sprays may be parked, and plans adapted in the spring.  There are still some potatoes to be lifted and, given the wet conditions, it is not surprising that soil damage is common where tatties have been lifted.

On a more upbeat note, the dates for the FAS/SRUC/AHDB agronomy winter roadshows are now online, and as usual, we will be visiting Perth, Carfraemill, Inverurie and Inverness in January, and hope to see many of you there.

Slugs - November 2019

Slugs and their damage are particularly noticeable this season, with the wetter weather playing into their hands.  Consequently, all autumn-sown crops are at risk of slug damage. In oilseed rape, the crops need to be protected from slug damage up until the 4-leaf stage.  Wheat and barley crops are particularly vulnerable to slugs up to GS12; beyond this stage, they can usually grow away from any further damage.  Read more here.

Pests in Winter Wheat - Nov 2019

Any wheat crop still to go in the ground on an East Coast farm, particularly a farm with a history of wheat bulb fly, could benefit from the use of an insecticide seed treatment.  The results of SRUC's annual survey of wheat bulb fly egg populations were an average of 0.5 million wheat bulb fly eggs/ha, which is below the damage threshold for early sown wheat (2.5 million eggs/ha) and later sown-wheat (1 million eggs/ha).   Read more here.

Winter oil seed rape - diseases & pests

Some light leaf spot sprays have gone on but the persistently wet conditions and the return of heavy rain means that the ability to travel on fields has become an issue.  If you historically have issues with light leaf spot and would normally apply an autumn fungicide and can still travel then it should be applied as quickly as possible.  If you would have applied an autumn spray but can’t now because of ground conditions then you will just need to accept that the incidence of disease will be higher in the spring and try and manage accordingly then.  Read more here.

Vermin control in farm buildings

As the weather is starting to get colder, vermin such as rats and mice will be looking for somewhere to spend the winter indoors, and nowhere is better than a farm building that might have grain or other foodstuffs in plentiful supply.  Read more here.

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