There has been good progress with drilling over thelast couple of weeks with some people having a clear run while others have beendelayed by rain. Current estimates are that around 50% of the crop hadbeen sown by last weekend. Seedbed quality is reported as being variableacross the factory areas. The lighter soils appear to be covering very well,while some of the stronger soils are forming plenty of clods, although, in mostcases, with sufficient tilth to produce a reasonable soil/seed contact, albeitafter rolling.
Any fields where there is little soil coverover the seed will benefit from rolling. This will improve seed-soilcontact ensuring a more uniform emergence as well as helping to minimise mousedamage which can rapidly account for large areas of seed.
The past few springs have seen an extended periodof dry weather following drilling lets hope for more in the way of Aprilshowers to kick-start this years crop.
Despite some frosty nights and a keen Northerlywind over the past week, soil temperatures have held up pretty well. Sugar beet will begin to germinate at 3 degrees C and will germinate well at 5degrees C. So far we have drilled trials in Norfolk, Suffolk andLincolnshire into soils of around 5.5 7 degrees C.
Pre-cultivation glyphosate applications are goodfor removing larger over-wintered weeds which might otherwise survivecultivations alone.
Pre-emergence herbicides are a useful option toconsider, particularly where spray capacity is tight and/or soils conditionsmean fields could be difficult to travel on. Be aware that crop vigourcan be adversely affected where there is poor soil tilth.
It is possible to apply some glyphosate productswith the pre-emergence herbicides i.e. chloridazon but remember to check forany signs of beet emerging before spraying! Where pre-emergence herbicides arebeing used aim to apply as close as possible to drilling as weeds can emergequickly under warm conditions. Always read the product label and followthe instructions.
More details of herbicide options can be found inthe BBRO Reference Book or online at www.uksugarbeet.co.uk They arealso attached to this email.
BBRO Trial progress
This mirrors the commercial situation and we havemade good progress with drilling trials and demonstration sites. Thesites we have sown have had their first dressing of nitrogen and some have hada pre-emergence herbicide applied. There are no beet through yet but weare monitoring this closely so that we can conduct the early emergence countsthat are required.