2019 autumn consequences: No two seasons are the same and 2019 is a damn good example of this. Just 50-60% of 2018’s winter crop area has been sown. However, poor planting conditions and patchy emergence, pest and crow pressure and ongoing wet ground conditions mean that there are now many cases of crop failure in fields this year. In some cases this is confined to a few wet spots and headlands, in more serious cases however entire fields may have to be re-sown in the spring. The decision to re-sow or not will come next year, but it will be hard to justify the costs and changes in management regimes for small areas only.
Pigeons in rape: There have been some reports of increased pigeon pressure in winter oilseed rape. Backward crops and fields with patchy areas are generally at greater risk. While giving pigeons free rein to graze oilseed crops may not result in a definite yield penalty, it may lead to non-uniform crops and subsequent management difficulties. Badly grazed crops will also need more nitrogen in spring to drive canopy growth. Try to prevent attacks as once pigeons settle in it can be hard to move them on.