Don’t miss this month’s new look Arable Farming. Take a look at the digital edition today.
Here in the eastern counties the snow and temperatures approaching in some cases -10degC have given way to yet more rain. There were a few days where it felt like things might be drying out but then the wet weather returned, there is yet more rain forecast and getting on with any fieldwork once again feels like a distant prospect.While machines may be firmly in the shed for the time being, crop protection issues are to the fore in terms of technical news as we await the start of the spring season. As I write the use-up date for nematicide Vydate (oxamyl) is a few days away. Potato growers are also without seed treatment Monceren (pency-curon) this season and will see the loss of another seed treatment Emesto Prime (penflufen) from next season. With sugar beet drilling on the horizon, the implications of the absence of desmedipham from the weed control toolkit are being highlighted – we bring together some expert views on alternative approaches on p34-35. And returning to potatoes, we caught up with growers and store managers in Doncaster and Long Sutton to find out how they – and their stored crops – are faring without CIPC (see p20-22).Disease controlYellow rust is reported to have been lurking with intent in wheat crops over winter; in this issue we take a look at prospects for disease control, including the success in trials of often lower-cost ‘adapted’ fungicide programmes, closely tailored to variety, location and season. We also bring news of develop-ments in latent disease detection, with qPCR testing for septoria being evaluated on an increasing number of farms during 2021, plus plans to advance the tech-nology into testing for the presence of pre-symptom-atic yellow and brown rust, mildew and eyespot.
By the time you read this Defra’s National Action Plan for the Sustainable Use of Pesticides consul-tation will have closed. We must await its outcome but the continued development of integrated pest management (IPM) will be a central theme. Most growers will be broadly supportive of that – provided the existing widespread use of IPM principles and practices on farms is recognised.Our machinery section this month reflects the increasing attention being paid to cost management as a farming future with less support unfolds. We hear from businesses in Kent, Lincolnshire, Oxfordshire and Suffolk who have thought hard about their requirements as they replace sprayers and high horse-power tractors, seeking to balance capacity with cost.