The recent cold weather and Christmas music on the radio is a heavy reminder that winter is here, and our chances for autumn-drilled crops in Cumbria have pretty much finished, leaving our acreage well below what was planned.
On the positive side, most of our drilled cereals have received an autumn herbicide which is important for annual meadow grass management, and insecticides have been applied where necessary. Also, the recent cold nights have significantly slowed down aphid activity.
Our latest drilled crops are around the 1-2 leaf stage and in some cases have come under huge pressure from crows, with some fields suffering significant plant losses. These crops will require attention in spring and encouragement to tiller through early nitrogen as ear numbers are the most important factor for crop yield.
This is the last Crop Watch from me until spring, it's been a difficult harvest and autumn all around the country, especially for those in the areas which have suffered the recent floods. It looks as though we have a busy spring ahead of us and I keep my fingers crossed for some favourable weather next spring.