Hi All,

The weekend past gave us heavy rain across the U.K, and even snow across some areas of the south-west of England, with falls of over an inch reported in some areas. As you’ll be aware, a lot of our rain this year has come in from the south-west and west of the U.K and it’s going to be very interesting when we tot up yearly rainfall totals to see the extent of this west-east split. Currently I’d estimate the west of England and Wales has had 100% more rain than the south-east of England.

To keep with my naturalist theme from last week, we had the earliest report in Leicestershire (I’m aware of), this past weekend, of another Scandinavia visitor that tends to hop over here when the weather is extreme, the Waxwing. These guys love berries, so tend to crop up in the middle of retail parks, feeding on Rowans and the like. Another indicator of a harsh winter to come ?

General Weather Situation

You’ll be pleased to hear we have a drier week in store, not devoid of rain, but much less than recently and picking up a bit of milder air, mid-week to boot. For Monday we have a crisp, clear start in some areas, with a touch of frost. There’s some lingering rain in the far south-west of England, but aside from that we look dry across the U.K and Ireland, with only some light showers across the west coast of Connacht and Munster to spoil the day. Winds are light and northerly, so a tad chilly. Tuesday continues this dry theme for much of the country, but a band of rain is set to move into Scotland in the morning and push down the north and east side of England through the afternoon / evening, possibly reaching down to The Midlands by the evening. Winds will strengthen and swing round to the north-west / west for Tuesday and Wednesday and it’ll feel a little milder. For Wednesday, we have another light band of rain pushing into north-west Ireland, on strong winds, during the morning and moving across the country and into Scotland and the west coast of England / Wales during the afternoon. The south and south-east of England is dry to this point I hasten to add. Thursday sees a weak band of showers pushing south across the U.K and Ireland during the day, on the back of that westerly, milder wind. For Scotland and the north of England, the temperature will already be dropping back a bit though. Those showers disperse during the afternoon on Thursday to leave a cooler feel to the weather and a tad dull. Friday continues this dull theme, but later in the morning, a band of rain is projected to move into the west of Ireland / west of the U.K and push eastwards on brisk, cooler winds, courtesy of a low pressure system that was due to hammer us, but is now going to miss up thankfully. This rain will move into the rest of the U.K overnight and into Saturday, so a potentially wet day for the start of next weekend. This rain may linger into Sunday, but it should clear early doors and leave a half-decent day, cooler though in feel.

Weather Outlook

It looks at this stage like next week will start off similar to this week, quiet and dry, with overnight frost likely. Thereafter the wind will gradually pick up in strength from the south, but bizarrely it’ll be a cold wind as it emanates from an Arctic low. By mid-week, this low pressure will be pushing rain and possibly sleet into all areas of the UK and Ireland, giving a potentially wet end to the week. That said, this time last week we had the same projection, but a weak peak in the jet stream pushed this week’s low pressure up and over us, so let’s hope for the same eh ?. On that subject,I thought I’d include an illustration of the peak and trough pattern across the globe so you can see whose getting what currently.

As you can see the U.S is sitting in a trough, so they’re getting colder and wetter weather, with some very heavy storms. Interestingly, they spent all summer under a peak, so it does change. For us, we’re still in a trough, so more of the same for now….

Red dotted line indicates path of jetstream
Blue – Purple = cold air
Green = mild air
Yellow – Orange = warm air

Agronomic Notes

Not a great deal to add in this week’s blog on the disease front other than to say that I expect Triazole fungicide longevity from a systemic to be 5-6 weeks minimum, if it was applied during October and at full rate. As you can see from the chart below, soil temperatures were tracking some 5°C lower at the end of October this year vs. last and overall the average was lower for the month (10°C vs. 12°C), so that means both fertiliser and fungicide longevity will be extended as less is removed in the clippings.

The drop in soil temperature to single figures is about three weeks earlier than normal and now that the grass has settled down, I expect areas to tick along nicely with no flushes or requirement for significant fertiliser inputs.

On the subject of nutrient inputs, I’ve been measuring rainwater characteristics through the year and as you’ll see from the graphs below, the rain is showing quite a bit of variability in terms of nitrogen content (and pH interestingly). What the graph below shows is that for every inch of rain received on say the 30th of October, it inputted 0.3kg / Nitrogen per hectare. These N-contents are lower than 2011 by the way.

Moss is beginning to show up in many surfaces as the prolonged wet weather and cooler temperatures tips the balance in favour of its growth vs. grass. If you are able to get out on areas and spray, now is a good time to apply a high rate of iron to these surfaces as the moss plant is fully-saturated. (For sure ! )

The continued wet weather will also only serve to heighten worm activity and I’ve heard reports of both Chafer and Leatherjacket as well. Not much you can do at the moment I’m afraid with the wet conditions, but let’s hope areas dry out a bit this week.

All the best.

Mark Hunt