Officially it is spring if you follow the meterological start date of the 1st March. If you think you’ve been short changed for spring weather so far then you could hold out for the astronomical official start of spring on the 20th March – although that holds no guarantees either! Wet soils seem to be the main flavor of this week’s local reports, with only the north east corner commenting on better conditions. The cold, wet weather is slowing down crop development to some extent, but pests and diseases are beginning to be noticeable in many crops. We have seen rape winter stem weevil damage and light leaf spot in oilseed rape and wheat bulb fly grubs and mildew and septoria in wheat. When it warms up more will come crawling out of the woodwork.
The results are in on our annual leatherjacket survey and as feared numbers are up on last season and pose a risk to grass and spring crops to be sown after grass. The loss of chemical options will make leatherjacket management a tricky process this season.
Police Scotland issued a news release a week ago to say they were supporting an initiative with HSE and Trading Standards to raise awareness of the issues caused by fake pesticides and to start visiting farms and stores. They were quick to say that there is no evidence for this problem in Scotland which is good and it is reassuring to know that so much of our crop goes through rigorous quality assurance schemes. The clean ‘brand Scotland’ image for our arable production is really important to protect and maintain. Police Scotland are responding to a two week initiative by Europol as fake pesticides in parts of Europe have become problematic. It goes without saying how much is at stake if Scotland’s food brand was damaged so in the unlikely event you ever hear tell of suspicious goods then don’t sit on that information.