5 February - Protect field crops

Herbicides Use mild days to apply residual herbicides to field crops using Butisan S, Devrinol, Flexidor 125, Springbok (EAMU 2014-3006), Stomp 400SC (EAMU 2008-2923) or Venzar Flowable to tolerant genera. For established woody field-grown crops, consider Butisan S, Chikara, Devrinol or Flexidor 125. Do not apply if frost or heavy rainfall is forecast.

Choisya Order liner plants now for early potting to ensure better crop establishment and a reduced risk of root rot attack. Prevent snail damage on established plants using approved slug pellets - for further details on using pellets, see www.getpelletwise.co.uk.

Hydrangeas The mild autumn could lead to weak flowering. Expose crops to frosts to kick-start flower development.

Leaf spots Apply Octave or Switch to protected evergreen crops to control any overwintered fungal leaf spot pathogens.

Field heaps A field heap must not be built or kept within 30m of surface water (including ditches) if the land slopes steeply. Changes in the NVZ Regulations mean that it must also occupy as small a surface area as required to support the heap and prevent it collapsing.

Frost protection Consider trialling Compo Frost Protect or Cropaid on selected crops in an effort to prevent frost damage on flower buds as well as other vulnerable growth.

Pest monitoring Plan your programme now, especially with mild temperatures encouraging early emergence of whitefly, aphid and mite populations. Sticky traps will help with monitoring whitefly, thrips, sciarid and leafhopper.

Plant growth Protect any early growth in times of very cold weather. Strong winds can be particularly damaging on exposed frozen crops. Check that fleece or Cosytex is still secure around vulnerable crops.

Pruning Clear and burn prunings to prevent early unnecessary fungal infections on vulnerable crops. Use the relevant agricultural waste exemptions - D7, T6, U10 or U12. For further details, see www.gov.uk/manage-waste-on-land-guidance-for-land-managers#waste-use- treatment-recovery-and-disposal.

Bedding plants Disinfect production areas before sowing seed crops to reduce risks of early pest and disease attack.

Botrytis Mild winter weather has increased infection incidents, so keep crops sufficiently spaced and ensure adequate airflow. Irrigate early in the morning on bright sunny days and open the doors of tunnels to change high-humidity air conditions.

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