Agronomy Blog - April

Ceres Rural Partner, Jock Willmott, updates on OSR & Pulses and glances ahead to Harvest 2022.

Managing Break Crops & Planning for Harvest 2022

Jock Willmott

Jock Willmott

Apr, 24 2021


Rape – where its good its good and where it’s bad its bad, for many this is within the same field making it difficult to get excited about the crops potential.  Within fields and across blocks flowering is quite uneven mostly because of wet soil conditions and latterly CSFB larvae pressure. Many plants are stunted and very slowly pushing out a stem and flower head undoubtedly leading to a protracted flowering period.  Pollen beetle are an issue at localised levels and where causing obvious damage will require treatment, in addition light leaf spot is easy to find and crops will require an appropriate fungicide to protect the crop at green bud/flowering.

Early planted spring linseed is starting to emerge but has been unsurprisingly slow, planting from the middle of the month is likely to produce quicker emerging results for negligible loss of yield.  Winter linseed is slowly recovering after taking a battering from the frosts and will shortly require a broad-leaved weed herbicide as other spraying priorities permit.


Winter bean development – early planted crops (Sept/Early October) have moved on through the month and will shortly produce flower buds.  Later planted crops continue to be slow.  Powdery mildew is visible because of stress/damage induced by the frosts as it seems early for this to be appearing.  Pest activity is low but charlock/volunteer rape is starting to emerge as soils warm up and will require bentazone applications when conditions are warmer and before the flower buds are visible.

Spring beans are emerging into a pea and bean weevil storm with many plants barely emerging before being attacked and requiring an insecticide.

The earliest planted peas are starting to emerge and in general chitting very quickly, it is worth checking these crops so as to gage pre-emergence timing as we may not have as much time to apply as we think.

Harvest 2022 Cropping Planning

It remains underwhelming.  Unless price is stellar and this year’s crop somehow yields, the oilseed rape area in this part of the country will shrink further for 2022 and probably with it the winter barley acreage.

The ongoing search of what break crops to grow is becoming exhausted, the reality at this stage is longer runs of cereals, mostly wheat, interspersed with a pulse crop ideally one in five, with oats, stewardship options and roots making up most of the remaining mainstream alternatives.

Linseed – possibly interesting if oilseed price continues to increase and we will watch with interest how this year’s winter crops yield having been hit so hard by the late Feb frosts.  

Spring wheat is having a mini revival due to the availability of on farm seed, the c.£30/t price advantage over barley and without rape there is less pressure to harvest crops early.

The news of the first BYMV tolerant beet variety on the 2022 Recommended list is encouraging and growers will be tentatively putting in like “normal” areas of beet back into the first draft of the 2022 harvest plan.

New Season Nitrogen Price – Some clients are tentatively purchasing nitrogen for the new season at old season prices for fear of new season prices starting higher than the closing position.

Soil conditions at the start of the month have been conducive to getting the last of the combinable crops drilled, so concluding the 2020/21 eight-month drilling window.

Relevant Service Areas

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