Almost finished: Many growers have finished harvesting in the past week, but there are still some spring cereals, winter and spring beans and spring oilseed rape remaining to be cut.

Planting of winter oilseed rape and catch crops is now ongoing, as well as the removal of the last of the straw.

Thankfully, yields have remained good, as the harvest progressed with very little losses and grain quality seems good for every market also.

Oilseed rape: With a lot of stubbles cleared and good weather, this is an ideal opportunity to plant some winter oilseed rape.

While earlier is better, and possibly easier, growers in many parts of the country will plant successfully up to 10 September and even slightly later in the south.

However, applying a little compound fertiliser or DAP with later sowing, or an organic fertiliser, could help to drive additional backend growth, which is important for this crop. Consider up to 20kg N/ha, along with some P and K. Higher autumn growth helps to reduce other problems and can decrease the amount of N needed in spring.

MATIF August to November 2022 are both running above €480/t at the moment, which seems like an attractive price to lock in some sales at, especially if we are to see a decrease in cereals prices. Growers might consider locking in 20% to 30%. Price could rise further, like this year, but it seems highly unlikely that Canada will have another bad canola year or that the Australians will not go headfirst into this crop to follow the price. The greater likelihood is that prices next harvest will be lower – unfortunately, this is the way the market works, as high prices cure high prices.

As well as having potentially good margins, rape also brings other advantages to a rotation. The benefit of first cereal after a non-cereal break is being widely spoken about at farm level this year. Growers around the country report higher yields of spring and winter cereals following non-cereal breaks. Use seed rates of around 30-35 seeds/m2 for hybrids and closer to 80 seeds/m2 for conventional varieties. Increase these if poor establishment is expected. Many growers report the benefit of having TuYV resistance varieties in terms of yield consistency. These include Aurelia, DK Expectation, LG Ambassador and LG Artemis.

An amount of crop is already sown and is likely to emerge quickly. Keep an eye out for slugs and flea beetles at and after emergence. Slug traps can be very useful in this regard, and any kind of yellow bowl or plate with water in it will catch adult flea beetles flying around to give you a handle on risk.

Crop volunteers and other grass weeds are likely to emerge quickly in rape, so graminicides should be considered post-emergence once a flush of grass-type weeds become visible.

Stubbles: All stubbles should be lightly cultivated to encourage weed and volunteer seed germination and the destruction of pests like slugs and leatherjackets. Drying conditions help achieve these objectives. Allowing slug and leatherjacket eggs to dry out will significantly reduce problems.