Tillage Update Winter 2021
By James Brady
As we enter winter we can look back on a lot of field work done in the tillage fields. A dryish enough spell has resulted in excellent crop establishments in most fields this Autumn compared to the poor field conditions we experienced for the last 2 Autumn showings, however, this brings its own challenges.
Oil Seed Rape
Fast and early growth has helped the crop overcome the slug challenge but we now have weaker stems and the threat of premature elongation of these stems. This will pose a much higher risk of lodging at pod fill. If lodging does occur it will result in no light getting down to lower branches and a big yield penalty. If crops haven’t already gotten a plant growth Regulator (PGR) they need it now. The crop needs a thickened stem base and to create more branching. In short, a more stocky plant is needed.
By the end of November the aim is to have plants of 8 to 10 leaves with no stem extension and have good root depth. The growing point needs to be near ground level so the crop can tolerate and survive a pigeon attack during the Winter.
A good PGR is vital in achieving the above. Options include CARYX, Metconazole or Tebuconazole. Light Leaf spot is the “Septoria”of Oil Seed Rape and needs a fungicide before Winter, Prothioconazole is the active of choice here
Crops vary from 4 leaves in early sown crops to 1 to 2 leaves in mid October sown fields. All crops will require an aphicide to counter the threat of BYDV posed by migrating aphids carrying the virus even the early sown crops that may have received one already. A new insecticide called Transform is available for use in the November to January period. It has no known resistance issues and is somewhat kinder to non-target species. Grass weed issues such as Brome and need to be tackled at this time also. Products of choice are either Flufenacet based or Pendimethalin based.