In general, crops look very good this year, but there are exceptions. There is also much uncertainty over virus implications. Some areas, east and south, have suffered a bit due to dryness and you can now see brown patches in fields across different parts of the country.

As a general comment, I thought I saw more winter oilseed rape than I might generally encounter across this countryside and bean crops were relatively common too. There was also a lot of maize in places.

Winter barley

Crops varied considerably in terms of maturity, with some now within two weeks of harvest while others are arguably still a month away. Crops were a mix of two- and six-row varieties.

A few crops were a bit tossed and one had a nitrogen spreading issue. I saw no serious problem with ramularia in the crops I visited.

Crops were generally a nice height and quite uniform. However, one crop of six-row had a lot of small late tillers which had 12-15 grains but they were poorly filled. Crow attack was evident in many areas.

Winter wheat

Winter wheat crops were largely clean, but there was a varying level of leaf tipping evident.

All crops are now well into grain fill and most, but not all, remain largely free of foliar disease. Septoria was quite evident in a few crops but most were very clean. One crop in particular looked very thirsty, with leaves visibly curling up to help conserve moisture.

Many crops had a level of flag-leaf tipping. One crop had some small patches of white heads, which was take-all. It was impossible to know whether take-all was the primary disease or a secondary one coming in on a patch of BYDV or something else. Again, this crop looked thirsty on lighter land.

One winter wheat crop had really bad Italian ryegrass on one headland, which was migrating out into the field.

This same crop had a good bit of ryegrass in patches and one turning headland looked more like a hay field than a wheat field. The wheat was totally suppressed in the dense grass and this problem will only get worse if the ryegrass is allowed to go to seed.

On balance, wheat crops look good to very good, but there are still some obstacles to be overcome before this turns into tonnes on the weighbridge.

Spring barley

Spring barley crops were largely free of disease except for some net blotch and virus infection.

The majority of crops look good to very good. Crops ranged from half eared out to grains filling at full length. Many crops looked heavy and there were already patches lodged or leaning where nitrogen was overlapped. Some crops felt soft and they could do without big spills of rain now.

Crops were generally very full, with lower leaves turning yellow due to lack of light penetration. They were also very clean, with the exception of net blotch. I am guessing that the ones with net blotch were mainly Planet.

There were no signs of spotting on the lower leaves, but that is no guarantee that ramularia will not develop in the weeks ahead on crops that are not adequately protected.

Other crops

A few crops showed signs of curled leaves last week, which are a sign of drought pressure.

There were a good few spring wheat crops along the route at various stages of heading out. One crop I walked into had a lot of kinked ears, which had been caught in the leaf auricles during ear emergence.

This crop was very clean except for visibly high levels of virus. I am never sure whether to call this BYDV or CYDV anymore, but yellowing and dwarfing were very evident in big patches.

There were also a good few bean crops – winter and spring – which looked well. Downey mildew was very evident, with no real signs of chocolate spot yet.

One spring crop I was in seemed to have very high pods this year, with most over 30cm off the ground.

Ears of spring wheat were bent because they could not emerge up through the auricles of the flag leaf.

One later crop of spring oats I saw was still at the mid-booting stage. The crop looked good. There was a lot of mildew on the older leaves, but the upper foliage was very clean. There was a level of manganese deficiency evident in part of this field.

There were a lot of winter oilseed rape crops along my route and most were turning brown across the top of the crop. This means that they will shortly need to be checked for suitability of glyphosate application for desiccation.