Cereals: The Arable Event

Agronomy Update


Peter Brumpton​The annual transformation from arable field to Event site is well underway. 

AICC Agronomist Peter Brumpton is responsible for the Site and over the coming months he will be sharing what's happening with the crops. 

Click on one of the summary reports below to find out more:​

May 2016 Site Report

May CerealsSpring has finally sprung as we rapidly approach mid June and Cereals 2016. With dry conditions currently on site, there has been 24mm of rainfall and soil conditions are dry, with cracking in some places. Soil temperature has risen to a warm 16.40c which has assisted in the rapid growth seen on all plots in the last four weeks.

Winter Oilseed Rape

There is very little yellow flower left to be seen as the plots go into their pod fill phase. Pod set is acceptable but there is some pod abortion on most plots. Whether the unseasonably cold spring is to blame or the dry conditions we currently are in, we cannot be certain, but this does mirror what is happening in on-farm crops.


The T2 fungicide has been applied to all the winter cereals which is continuing to keep disease in check and all treated plots look green and relativley disease free. This is not the case on the untreated plots, so will provide interest for visitors at Cereals. An additional fungicide will be applied in early June and will provide some protection to the ear which will have emerged on all of the winter cereals by then. The spring cereals continue to progress and have received their first fungicide.

Other plotsOther plots

The spring bean, pea and linseed plots are also progressing well along with some of the minor crop plots. Winter beans are podding well with some flowers still left on many of the plots. Aphids may be an issue going forward prior to the main event, but these levels will be monitored and an appropriate treatment applied if and when necessary.

This will be the final report before the two show days and I would like to thank Keith Pope for his dedication in producing the high quality crop plots that I am sure visitors will appreciate during the event.

April 2016 Site Report

Oilseed RapeCool and wet continues to be the favoured weather conditions for “spring 2016” with 33mm of rainfall already, with soil temperatures continuing to improve to 100c. As in March growth rates are slow and steady driven more by day length than temperature, things can only improve!

Winter Oilseed Rape

A flowering fungicide will be applied in the near future along with an insecticide to control pod midge and seed weevil. All new growth continues to remain clean and the flowering fungicide will assist in this aim, many plots are flowering or about to flower. Pollen beetle is present but is acting as a benefical insect rather than a pest at the moment. Some plots were sprayed to control pollen beetle where damage was beginning to build.


Other PlotsThe T0 fungicide has been applied to both the winter wheat and barley this is keeping disease in check as pressure from some diseases has been higher this year due to a mild winter. The cooler spring is helping with disease control but a T1 fungicide and growth regulator will be applied in the next few days. The spring cereals have all emerged well and are developing steadily in the current conditions but will race away when the weather improves? Nutrient inputs in particular nitrogen have been well timed to assist with development along with a multi trace element mix on all of the winter plots.

Other plots

The spring bean, pea and linseed plots are now emerging but would appreciate warmer conditions, weevil damage is evident on the pea and beans but is being controlled. Winter beans have had a fungicide and insecticide mix applied today, as flower buds and flowers are evident on all of these plots. The weevils are also attacking the winter beans but will be brought to heel by today’s application.

March 2016 Site Report 

Cool and wet has been the order of the day so far for March, a 31mm of rain has fallen already but with soil temperatures improving dramatically to 7 – 80c. The wind chill factor on site is a key factor and growth has been steady rather than dramatic, however the whole site looks significantly better than a month ago.

Winter Oilseed Rape

Another fungicide was applied in recent weeks to calm down the light leaf spot infections, this continues to keep the disease in check with all new growth being clean and disease free. The plots are moving into their stem extension phase with many plots having flower buds visible above the canopy. There are very few pollen beetle present, as yet but this will continue to be monitored as more buds become visible and weather conditions improve.Cereals


All of the cereal plots have improved over the last four weeks and are now a nice green colour, the remaining spring cereal plots are now drilled and many are beginning to emerge. Rust levels both brown and yellow have not increased, due primarily to the cool conditions. The T0 fungicide and growth regulator application is imminent on the winter wheat as soon as the temperature rises a little to improve the effectiveness of the growth regulator. Fungicide and growth regulator applications will also be made to the other winter cereals after the wheat has been sprayed.

Other plots

The spring pea plots have now been drilled but have yet to emerge, the winter beans and linseed continue to develop well and are primed for a rapid growth phase as soon as the temperatures improve a little more. There is very little disease or pest activity on any of these plots to date but they will continue to be monitored and a fungicide and insecticide will be applied in due course.

February 2016 Site Report    

Winter is certainly not over just yet with very cold conditions on site in recent days. The open nature of the site field has meant the plots now look a little “weathered”. Soil temperatures this month have dropped further to  2°C.

Rainfall data for the month is 12mm and as you would expect soil conditions are reasonably dry.

Winter Oilseed Rape

Fungicides have been applied in recent weeks to calm the light leaf spot infections. These appear to have been effective on most plots however some  with lower light leaf spot resistant varieties still have disease present.  These will be re-treated as soon as the weather will allow a dry leaf for application.

A compound fertiliser containing nitrogen, phosphate and potash (NPK) have been applied to encourage spring growth.

Yellow Rust on Winter WheatWinter Cereals

The cold, frosty conditions have provided some good control of the mildew that was present on a lot of the winter cereals. Both brown and yellow rust continues to develop on susceptible crops and varieties. With this in mind we are debating when to start the fungicide programme, however I believe at this moment in time with the current weather conditions, the best policy is to wait and monitor the situation.

Plots where active rust is present will be treated when necessary, and a compound NPK fertiliser has also been applied to the winter cereal plots. Growth regulator applications will be made to more forward plots when they reach the appropriate growth stage and favourable conditions are present, i.e. when there is growth to regulate. 

January 2016 Site Report

Is winter now over, with a mere week of freezing temperatures? Conditions on site are a bit bleak but certainly not freezing. With very little cover to be found, current conditions show how windswept the site is; soil temperatures have unsurprisingly dropped to a very chilly 3.5°c.

Winter Oilseed Rape

It looks like it could be a high disease pressure year. As phoma has faded away light leaf spot has now taken up the baton and put in an appearance. It will be prudent to start applying spring fungicides as soon as the weather will allow a dry leaf for application.

Despite the use of seed treatments and several insecticide treatments, cabbage stem flea beetle larvae are also causing potential problems in some plants and plots. This reflects what is happening on the farm and the pressure this pest is putting on the production of oilseed rape.

Cabbage Stem Flea BeetleWinter Cereals

High disease pressure will not be confined to the oilseed rape. Mildew has been evident on many cereal plots but the cold weather has certainly checked its progress. Yellow rust is very easily found on the farm but has yet to become a problem onsite though it is present at low levels.

The mild conditions have allowed disease to come into the plots earlier than we would have liked, but the fungicide programme and its timings will be adapted to take account of current levels. Fingers crossed winter returns shortly and assists with disease development and ultimately its control.

December 2015 Site Report      

December Site NewsWinter has arrived! Well not for long with normal service now resumed, back to an Indian summer/autumn/winter. It is all getting a bit silly now with growth continuing and disease starting to 

appear early in some plots. The rainfall during the previous four weeks totals 71mm but this added to the previous 75mm has caused some standing water but only on the perimeter service road in one hollow.  Soil temperatures have now risen to a warmer 8.7oc from a cool 7.2oc.

Winter Oilseed Rape

Despite the appearance of phoma last month at low levels the fungicide application has now knocked this problem on the head with leaves looking very clean and disease free. Crop growth has slowed slightly but not dramatically.

Winter Cereals

All of the winter cereal plots continue to progress well with the majority having at least one tiller however there are now very low levels of mildew appearing on some plots. This will be monitored going forward and a fungicide application will be made if the winter doesn’t control the disease in the meantime.

Other CropsOther Plots

The winter beans and linseed continue to develop with very few problems, there is a minor amount of pea and bean weevil nibbling on the beans but not at a serious level. The grass around the site continues to move at a pace and is setup well for the New Year.


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to one and all!

November 2015 Site Report    

Winter Oilseed RapeWinter has arrived, well that’s how it felt today on site, with a biting wind and perhaps a
hint of snow on the horizon? The rainfall during the previous four weeks totals a significant
75mm but this has been absorbed without protest by the light soil with no standing water
anywhere on the site. Soil temperatures have now fallen to a cool 7.2oc.

Winter Oilseed Rape

The cabbage stem flea beetle appeared to have been silenced by both the weather and the insecticidal treatments applied to date. Phoma has now reared it’s ugly head during the last 7 days however a fungicide has been applied to comabt the problem. Overall all the oilseed rape has improved dramatically and now sits at an acceptable size going into winter. 

Winter Cereals

All of the winter cereal plots have emerged and are progressing very well with the majority having at least one tiller as with the oilseed rape the winter cereals are at an appropriate growth as we enter the winter.

Other PlotsOther Plots

The winter beans and linseed have also emerged well with very few problems, the nets that protect the winter beans from feathered attention as they emerge were removed today and
should now allow the beans to develop unrestricted. Some of the other novel crops are also progressing well, even the grass looks satisfactory. 


October 2015 Site Report  

As plot drilling comes to an end with only two winter crop plots left to establish, attention is focused on sowing the remaining grass areas around the plots and the walkways. There has been some useful rainfall in the last four weeks totalling 25mm as temperatures begin to fall with soil temperatures now at 10.5oc.

Winter Oilseed RapeWinter Oilseed Rape

All plots have moved on well, despite high pressure from the cabbage stem flea beetle. To date several treatments have been applied to control this pest (please see photo on the right of an untreated volunteer oilseed rape). A fungicidal treatment is planned for application when conditions allow though there is very little sign of phoma infection at this stage. Leaf miner damage is present on some plants but not causing any concerning damage.

Winter Cereals

Many of the drilled plots have now emerged and are progressing well with the majority having 1-2 leaves. Given the previous mild weather an insecticide treatment is planned to be completed as soon as conditions allow.

September 2015 Site Report

Winter Oilseed RapeWhat a difference 12 months makes with conditions a total opposite to last September. To date in September there has been 44mm of rainfall and most of that has fallen this week on top of an additional 24mm of rain that fell over August bank holiday weekend. Conditions are a little damp but this is a free draining site and I doubt this will delay progress for long.

Winter Oilseed Rape

All plots have now been drilled, with most at expanded cotyledon to approaching the one/two leaf stage. Despite some insecticidal dressings this year, the flea beetles have been a constant worry. Insecticide treatments have been applied on at least three occasions to date and if damage continues a swap to an insecticide with an alternative mode of action will be made to allow the plots to get away. Soil temperature is still high at 14.5oc and should assist with crop development. 

Winter Cereals

Winter CerealsAt present no winter cereals have been drilled but as soon as conditions dry up and seed arrives on site sowing will be underway. There are very few volunteer spring barley from the previous crop that has grown through the ploughing but a few black-grass plants form the natural population have made an appearance in the damp conditions.

All the major grass areas have been drilled and have emerged well and continue to develop at a pace.

To summarise the oilseed rape crop plot drilling is completed but the winter cereal plot drilling is yet to start in earnest but conditions will soon be favourable for good progress but a little less moisture would be welcomed in the meantime.

May 2015 Site Report

  • 54mm rainfall


May Site Report“Rain arrived just in time at the Cereals site and the crops are all nearing their expected growth stages,” reports Peter.

"Winter OSR are ‘more pod than flower", he says.  “With the change in weather, the second fungicide has been applied. The spring rape plots are also changing rapidly and should be in flower before the event. 

“Winter cereals are coming into their own with the barley in full ear and the wheat at full flag leaf.  T2 fungicides have been applied to both,” he says.

“The winter and spring pulses are continuing to progress well with plenty of flower buds now present on the winter bean plots. The spring beans and peas are also moving towards flowering.”

In between the crop plots, the grass areas are green and lush and now being mown on a weekly basis.  With less the two weeks to the Event all the crop plots are looking great and the site is certainly taking shape.

April 2015 Site Report

  • 7mm rainfall


April Site News“It seems like “groundhog day” on site with yet again another dry month, cool winds and frosts”, says Peter. “Daytime temperatures have improved and the crop plots and grass areas continueto move forward.

“The winter oilseed rape plots are now well into flower. The first sclerotinia fungicide is due to be applied in the near future and the need for a second spray will be assessed in three weeks time, with consideration to weather conditions at that time.”

The winter cereals are moving at a steady pace, reports Peter. “ T1 fungicide has just been applied to the winter wheat and barley crops. The spring cereals continue to develop well despite the dry conditions.

“Pulse crops, winter and spring, are also progressing well. Early flower buds are present on the winter bean plots.

“As May approaches fast the site is keeping pace, the weather conditions in the following weeks, as always will be critical and some rainfall would now be welcome but not too much!”

March 2015 Site Report

  • 7mm rainfall
  • Soil temperature 7C


March Site Report

Having said ‘spring is on the horizon’ in February, it is yet to materialise; there’s been very little rainfall and the nights continue to bring sub-zero temperatures, reports Peter.

“What has been spring-like, though, is the day length – flower buds are now visible on most OSR plots. Nitrogen and sulphur fertiliser applications are up to date as are the fungicide, insecticide and multi trace elements applications.

“Many of the winter wheats are at, or approaching, growth stage 30 and will receive T0 fungicides when conditions allow,” he says.

“The winter barley plots have all greened up and are looking well. In the next fortnight we’ll be looking to get the T1 fungicides on.

“March marked the end of drilling the pulses. While they are not all up yet, it won’t be long and I’ll expect them to develop quickly as soil temperatures increase.”

February 2015 Site Report

  • 18mm rainfall
  • Soil temperatures fluctuating from 1.4C to 6C


February Site NewsSpring is on the horizon in Lincolnshire and the OSR, which has been under cover, is now starting to move, according to Peter.  “The rape crops are looking well and in response to their awakening, nitrogen and sulphur applications have gone on.  There’s a little light leaf spot at lower levels but another fungicide will be applied which will keep this in check.

“Uncovered, the cereals are a bit more exposed and the effects of the winter are clearer to see. Nevertheless they are starting to green up which means nitrogen and sulphur applications will be going on imminently,” he says.

“The beans onsite are continuing to slowly develop while some of the early drilled spring cereals have already emerged.”

January 2015 Site Report

  • 12mm rain/snow
  • Soil temperature 3c


January Site News“Winter oilseed rape crop plots remain at eight leaves,” says Peter. “Some of the lower leaves are starting to die back in response to the cold weather but are otherwise poised to regain growth as soon as the temperatures rise.”

Winter cereals are also at a standstill. “A hare has been sighted grazing on some of the more forward crops but the damage has been minor.

“Mice have moved on and are no longer troubling the pulses. Most beans are sitting at two true leaves.”


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