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Talking Agronomy with Sarah Symes: New season drilling is under way

Phoma and light leaf spot will be high on the agenda again this year.
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Sarah Symes talks agronomy: new season drilling is under way #talking agronomy

The middle of September finally saw the end of harvest for most, with just a few remaining crops of spring beans and linseed.


Oilseed rape establishment has been generally good, the intermittent wet weather has kept flea beetle at bay and has allowed even emergence, but on the flip slide some slug damage has been seen in many fields which has called for recommendations of ferric phosphate or metaldehyde to be made.


One half rate application seems to have done the job, but we will be keeping a close eye on both slugs and flea beetle in the coming weeks. An application of nitrogen from the one to two leaf stage is a good idea to help get plants away and out of the danger zone for slugs and flea beetle.


Under NMax rules a maximum rate of 30kg N/hectare can be applied in the autumn as soon as the crop is emerged; this is especially important if the crop has been late drilled or has patchy emergence.


Oilseed rape also has had either one or two applications of graminicides, depending on black-grass being present. The first graminicide is only really for volunteer cereals to help reduce competition. Some crops have or are about to receive Centurion Max (clethodim) or Aramo (tepraloxydim) which will give a later application of propyzamide or carbetamide less black-grass to work on.


Phoma and light leaf spot will be high on the agenda again this year. Phoma can come in at any point in the autumn and eradication is always proved difficult so a robust prevention strategy is most effective especially on varieties with a low resistance score such as Charger and Incentive.


Two spray programmes are only really required if there is an infection of phoma early on in the season (usually before mid-October) which we could see as the wet early September weather could lead to an early phoma infection. Sprays will often only protect a crop for four weeks. Light leaf spot is predicted to have high levels of inoculum again this autumn.


Winter barley and winter wheat drilling has begun again, early sown wheat varieties such as Claire and Scout are first to be sown and have all received their pre- emergence herbicide recommendations based around flufenacet.


The poor weather during harvest has pushed everyone’s workload back so not all crops have been rolled or had a pre-emergence spray, but almost everyone has been able to go in peri- or post-emergence of the crop.


Slugs will need to be monitored on cereals as well with baited traps as pressure will be high if the weather remains mild and unsettled which I am sure it will. Deter (clothianidin)-dressed seed will give some seed hollowing protection to begin within along with aphid control. Deter will give six to eight weeks control of aphids so, on early-drilled crops, aphids will need to be monitored later on in autumn, with a pyrethroid to be planned if weather remains conducive to aphid flight after late-October.


Most years it is only our growers on lower-lying land which may need a follow-up spray to prevent BYDV spread in their early-sown crops.


We will aim to sow winter beans mid-October weather depending and if ground conditions allow this can be extended into November without too much of a yield penalty. A few growers choose winter beans over spring beans as a means of spreading work load if there is a lot of spring cropping in the rotation, they are also earlier to harvest than spring beans so can reduce the gap between the wheat and bean harvest.


There are also a few more chemical options available for winter beans such as propyzamide for black-grass control, which must be applied pre-emergence only.

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