Keep pigeons away from the crops
Last year will be remembered for many reasons, and all tillage growers will count it as a very difficult one.
The year started off cold and relatively dry, but from early summer anybody could be forgiven for thinking it might never stop raining. As a result, waterlogging and trafficability problems dogged tillage farmers from July. The break in weather from the end of September to mid-October was welcome to get land work finished, but most of the cereals sown during this period are not sprayed as yet.
For crops with small weeds, products containing DFF, pendimethalin and IPU will work well and are cost-effective. Include IPU to 1,200-1,500g/ha where annual meadow grass is at the three-leaf stage in wheat, but restrict barleys to 1,000g/ha of IPU. If crops emerged before November or are growing in a known BYDV area then include an aphicide with the herbicide.
Advanced weeds, especially advanced grasses, will require either extra chemicals or a switch to products more suitable to controlling them. Alister can be useful in wheat to control annual meadow grasses and also many of the common broad-leaved weeds.
However, this product works best when growing conditions are good. Beware of applying any herbicides if the weather turns out to be frosty or the crop is still under pressure from a waterlogged soil.
There are very few advanced oilseed rape crops this year. However, due to the weather in August, most crops were not sown until late September and are now at the two- to four-leaf stage. In general, these crops are looking thin and weak, and the wet weather over the past few weeks has not helped growth.
These plants are unlikely to develop any further over the next six to eight weeks but they are very vulnerable to pest attack within that period. Keep an eye out for slugs grazing the newly emerged leaves and also cotyledons.