Why a cold snap is good news for some crops
Since the autumn sowing season commenced, every conversation on the weather (and there have been many) has ended with 'it can't last', but by and large this proclamation has been wrong, up to last week.
Many crops are still in rude health now and could have been in real difficulty if the law of averages of weather patterns didn't kick in sooner or later.
Many oilseed rape crops in particular look very strong for the time of year, some heading into flowering a month ahead of schedule.
What the impact on these highly bred varieties will be of flowering during shorter day length and wildly oscillating temperatures, time will tell.
In general terms though, temperate crops such as wheat, barley, oats and indeed oilseed rape crops have a much higher capacity to overcome weather variations than we give them credit for.
Despite huge variations in weather over the season, weather during grain fill is still the most critical time during a cropping season to impact on yield, so manage each crop on an individual basis to ensure that the maximum benefit can be gained from the advanced stages many of them are at.
One aspect that is evident in the strong growth patterns is the impact organic manures and good rotations are having on the crops, especially when used in combination in an overall planned programme.
This is especially evident where chemical fertiliser has been delayed, thick lush green crops have been blooming for the past few weeks, spurred on by high levels of mineralised nitrogen available in the soil.