The crop is growing well now with lots of crops meeting across the rows. As ever, rapid growth also shows up those areas which are not doing as well and such patches warrant further investigation. In the main, such patches of poorer growth can usually be attributed to soil structure, acidity or beet cyst nematodes. Check pH of soil and, if pH is low, apply a quick acting lime (e.g. Limex). Digging down to inspect soil structure will identify areas which may need remedial cultivation post- harvest and where beet cyst nematode is suspected, check plant roots for the tell-tale cysts.
When the crop grows as fast as it currently is under these warm temperatures, transient nutrient deficiency often shows, particularly manganese and, under dry conditions, magnesium deficiency. These are most often due not to a lack of nutrient in the soil, but to the plants inability to take up nutrient quickly enough when it is growing so rapidly.
Where manganese deficiency is showing - most likely on deficient light land soils - these should be treated as soon as possible. If there are no deficiency symptoms present, treatment with a foliar feed is unnecessary.
Broad-leaved weed control is all but complete in most fields now, although thistle and volunteer potato programmes are still to be finished in some fields. Late emerging OSR in more backward crops will still need to be controlled as the relatively open canopy will allow these seedlings to develop into tall weeds that will compete for light, water and nutrient.
On the whole, herbicides have worked very well this year and crops are generally very clean. Some windy and wet weather prevented the timely application of some graminicides, meaning that some blackgrass plants were pretty big when treated and as a consequence are very slow to die, or may even not be controlled. In future, where blackgrass is expected to be a problem, fitting the graminicide spray earlier into the spray program would seem a good idea, but of course we always have to react to whatever the season throws at us.
Bolters and weed beet
The occasional bolter is now starting to show in commercial fields and these will need controlling along with any weed beet present. Early control measures have the advantage that plants can be pulled and left in the field with no fear of seed return. It is worth carrying a knife and chopping the root from any pulled stems to prevent plants re-rooting. Your Area Manager contact will be able to provide details of contractors offering weed beet control services in your area.