Tillage: Time to tend the machines as rain puts halt to spraying
It is now time to turn our attention to our machinery after a hard season's work. Unfortunately, the heavy rainfall of recent days beat us to the finishing line on the spraying and we hadn't got it all completed before the deluge descended.
Although the temperature hasn't dropped much the amount of rain that has fallen made all work in the fields virtually impossible. We sprayed both the winter wheat and winter barley with Flight at 3l/ha for broad leaf weeds and IPU for grass weeds. We also used an aphicide to help prevent BYDV (barley yellow dwarf virus).
The oil seed rape has a weed in it, actually it has three weed types, all related to the oil seed rape plant. They are charlock, hedge mustard and another wild mustard. They are in flower at the moment which makes it very easy to spot with their bright yellow heads.
But because they are cousins of the rape it makes it particularly difficult to spray as there is a risk of damaging the growing crop.
We had our relations over from Australia and when they very politely asked is there anything they could do to help during their stay, they hadn't envisaged me saying, that I'd be delighted if they would hand pull every rogue weed out of the rape.
They got a 20ac field finished before they got washed out in a heavy shower. Now they are the type of visitors that are more than welcome.
As the first small leaves of all the crops start peeping up they are very vulnerable to diseases and pests. Most fungicides work better as a preventative rather than curative.
With this in mind we are keeping a close eye on the oil seed rape for light leaf spot. To help us catch this before it develops in the main crop we have put a few leaves in a clear plastic bag in the hot press.