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Autumn agronomy update for the midlands

Agronomist Rosie Tomlinson looks after customers across Shropshire and Staffordshire and is part of Agrovista’s Shrewsbury team. Having conducted regular field walking this autumn, she reflects on the current status of crops for her growers.

Rosie Tomlinson, agronomist for Agrovista 

“Starting with oilseed rape, here in the midlands we’re seeing some big canopies with the onset of phoma beginning to appear. This means selecting the correct fungicide will be vital as larger canopies will benefit from a fungicide with a plant growth regulatory effect, particularly during periods of sustained active growth.

Another key watch-out in OSR, the dreaded cabbage stem flea beetle (CSFB) larvae, are being found, although seem to be at a much lower incidence than last year. This will no doubt be a relief for many. 

OSR herbicide applications

As the days shorten and cool autumn nights draw in, soil temperatures are dropping, meaning applications of herbicide propyzamide loom. Growers who didn’t use residuals due to fears of crop failure could be relying on an Arylex (Belkar) followed by propyzamide/aminopyralid (Astrokerb) strategy. Although the Arylex has been applied with relative ease, some canopies are now so large that crop shielding will currently prevent propyzamide/aminopyralid applications. Cooler temperatures and frost will help to overcome this, by opening up the canopies. 

Early drilled wheat

Those who drilled wheat early will be seeing plants at three leaves, with some crops receiving second residuals to combat heavy grassweed infestations.

Wheat crops drilled following spring oats are displaying very high numbers of volunteers, as many of the oats shed prior to combining during spells of windy weather. It’s important to remember that ALS herbicides can prove unreliable on tame oats, so early season control using ACCase products is likely to be more effective.

Unsettled weather

The weather has been rather unsettled of late, preventing much drilling from taking place. However, this is perhaps a blessing in disguise as the past few weeks have been blackgrass and brome flushing season. Stale and false seedbeds are greening up a treat. 

Despite this wet and windy weather, aphids can be easily found. Timing is key for spraying as hitting the target is absolutely necessary because there is little to no residual activity. This means routine sprays are not advised.

Hopefully the coming week or so will bring more settled weather to make crop management a little easier.”