Good progress: Overall, planting progress has been good, despite recent rain of varying intensity.

The highest rainfall amounts over the past week were in the southeast.

Many growers have now completed winter planting on stubbles, so much of the remaining sowing will be on land after potatoes, maize or beet. Weather conditions will dictate.

Soil temperatures have taken a nosedive in the past week, with rain falling through colder air quickly pulling them down.

Soil temperatures on Monday last were 10-11°C versus 14-15°C a week earlier. They were up slightly again on Tuesday, but the drop will be seen in the speed of germination and establishment for recently sown crops.

Planting: The fact that many tillage areas had relatively little rainfall for much of October means that there may still be opportunities to get planting done. November planting should always be questioned, but the risk is still mainly associated with ground conditions and pests.

If land is dry with little evidence of wheels packing the ground, the risk may be worth taking. But if the soil is packing tightly beneath the wheels, water could be held in the seedbed and the risk of poor or patchy emergence is higher.

Given the drop in soil temperature, planting of barley is more questionable at this point. However, it might still be sown in lighter ground. Barley needs conditions that will get it up and away quickly, while wheat and oats are a lot more forgiving, providing they are not attacked by pests.

Where winter barley is still to be planted, hybrids may cope better with the likely establishment conditions from here on. Aim to establish around 200-225 plants/m2 from 100-115kg seed/ha at 90% establishment with 45g TGW seeds.

Oat planting might still be considered for another few weeks, providing it is not an isolated crop, as crows can be a real pain in the neck. Plant at 140-160kg/ha to establish 330 plants at 85% establishment from 35g or 40g seed.

Plant wheat around 155-170kg/ha to establish 275-300 plants/m2 from 50g seed at 90% establishment – some plant losses are inevitable. Increase seed rates further in poorer conditions, but other inputs may still be needed to protect your crop.

Spraying: Most early sown crops have already been sprayed with herbicides. Recently planted crops should also be sprayed pre- or early post-emergence before weeds emerge, especially if brome or blackgrass are a problem. Fields that do not have serious grass weed problems might be sprayed with products like Firebird or Flight, plus Defy or DFF. Tower is another option.

Established wheat crops that have not received herbicides might be sprayed with products like Alister after GS13, or possibly in springtime with products like Pacifica Plus.

Many of these products are crop specific and most cannot be used on oats.

Early emerged crops should be sprayed with an aphicide around the turn of the month.