I think the title of this post aptly describes the last month or so. As the new season ramps up and WOSR is
beginning to take off, I can’t help but think this hot weather is a month too late. The fact that we are in mid-September and temperatures are still reaching 35oC is unnerving to say the least! However cooler wetter weather looks to be arriving in the next few days.
Despite the recent hot weather, a few days of rain means there is plenty of moisture in the ground. This moisture, as I’m sure you know, will do wonders for oilseed rape crops looking to race away from the dreaded Cabbage Stem Flea Beetle pressure. Our team have been placing yellow water traps to try to predict and quantify CSFB numbers, alerting us whenever the traps are checked and CSFB counted. Some crops have remained relatively unaffected, whereas others have been significantly damaged by the pest. I recall one spray operator telling me he saw no flea beetle on the windscreen when travelling on a badly affected area compared to hundreds on a crop that is seemingly untouched. I think this perfectly outlines the unpredictability of CSFB. Only time will tell the effects that the pest has on this year’s WOSR crops.
Whilst the combines are packed up to overwinter in the (hopefully full) grain stores, sugar beet harvesters are making their way into fields to lift early sugar beet crops. Although it still seems too early for sugar beet harvesting, the sugar contents are quite disappointing thus far, prompting some to lift early to preserve what sugar their beet contains. However, farmers on heavier soil will be looking at the unstable weather ahead with concern over lifting dates.
As oilseed rape crop monitoring and progress continues on-farm, cereal drilling date and pre-emergence herbicide plans have begun to creep into conversations and products have started arriving on farm. If the past month is anything to go by, drilling and early season spraying will be upon us before we know it. Therefore, preparation is key. Getting product on-farm and plans formed early allows us to be as flexible as possible. As with anything in farming, it can all change in the blink of an eye!