Now's your chance to start sowing
Soil conditions improved a little last week, giving an opportunity to sow winter wheat and, for a few brave farmers, some winter barley.
Min-till operators, who got caught with land that had been disc-harrowed but never came dry enough to sow, were back in last week ploughing up dry soil to give a suitable seedbed. Emergence will be slow and retarded further with deeper sowings and Latitude seed dressings.
From now on, it is probably wiser to postpone sowings to next spring. Rolling after sowing has resulted in waterlogging in low areas of fields and an increased risk of herbicide damage. The risk from herbicide application will have to be weighed up against weed competition.
Annual meadow grass (AMG) is a top priority now in winter barley as it is not possible to control it after tillering. Options for control of AMG include Bacara at 0.5-0.75l/ha, DFF at 0.25-0.3lha plus 2-2.5l/ha IPU, Flight at 3l/ha plus IPU at a max of 1.5l/ha, Stomp Aqua at 2.2-2.9l/ha or Cougar at 1-1.5l/ha plus IPU at 0.75-1.0l/ha.
The same products may be used on winter wheat along with Sumi-Max at 0.1l/ha, which gives good control of cleavers and other broadleaved weeds and Broadway Star at 0.265kg/ha plus Biosyl plus Stomp Aqua at 1.75l/ha.
The options for winter oats are much more restrictive and will largely consist of Bacara at 0.5l/ha. This should not be applied to oats until the crop has been hardened by a few nights frost.
The continual moist weather is providing ideal conditions for slugs, which puts late-sown crops at high risk. Redigo Deter seed dressing will prevent seed damage but will not protect the leaf.
Plants are particularly vulnerable to slugs up to the two leaf stage and crops should be monitored carefully.