Hi All

Good morning from a cold, frosty and dry Harrogate, where BTME is in full swing already with the educational seminars. I’m doing mine at the Turf Manager’s Conference this afternoon, so just a short blog today.

Got ordered to bed by Jim Croxton, head honcho of BIGGA, last night (light heartedly) whilst enjoying a relaxing pint of Tuborg in Weatherspoons, as apparently it wasn’t good talk preparation 🙂

How quickly time’s flown by since I was sitting here last year reporting on the snowfall we were enduring. Nothing like that this week, cold and dry with just a bit of rain in the evenings, remember you can click the icon below for a forecast for Harrogate….Look forward to seeing you all up here…


General Weather Situation

The question I keep getting asked, especially by the guys down south, is “When is it going to stop raining ?”, well this week will be drier for you, there’ll still be rain but, as I suggested last week, it’ll be in lighter amounts because the orientation of the rainfall has changed: coming from the north.

Today looks almost totally dry for the U.K. and Ireland, with a cold air mass bringing a sharp frost for many to start the day. There’s a risk of some wintry showers over the highlands for a while this morning, but other than that, dry, cool and a chance of seeing the sun, more likely in the east and north. Temperatures will be on the cool side, mid-single figures, typical for January, so we can’t complain. Winds will be light to moderate through to mid-week and from the south-west mainly.

Tuesday sees a rain front push into the west of Ireland overnight to give a wet start there, but elsewhere another cold start, with night frost and some lingering fog patches. By the morning rush hour, that rain will be into the west of Scotland and falling as wintry showers over higher ground. Down south for most: a dry day, yes a dry day; that makes two in a row! But not a dry night unfortunately. During the morning, that rain front reaches the south west of England, Wales and the west coast of the U.K. and then moves eastwards during the afternoon / evening, bringing rain to most areas overnight. I’d estimate 4-5mm for inland U.K. but I’m sure you’ll tell me otherwise!

Wednesday sees that rain moving eastwards, clearing the east coast by 9ish, then we’re left with a cool, dry, day. Temperatures up a little to high-single figures in that milder air. For Ireland, it’s likely that there’ll be rain showers throughout the day, so unsettled there. By lunchtime, there’ll be some more rain into the west coast of the U.K, particularly the north-west of England and Scotland. There’s also a chance of some rain drifting up from the continent to affect the south-east of England for a time as well. By the evening, that rain is confined to the north and Scotland, again falling as wintry showers over the highlands of Scotland.

Thursday sees a cooler start for everyone, courtesy of a change in the wind direction to the north-west, however it should be frost-free. Overnight, a new rain front reaches the west coast of Ireland, so a wet start to the day there for the morning rush hour. By 9ish that rain will be into the south-west of England, Wales and potentially heavy across the south coast of England (Dorset sort of area) for a time later in the morning, East of this rain front, it’ll be dry. By the afternoon the rain will become more isolated to the west coast of Ireland, Wales and the south-west of England reaching up to the West Midlands maybe. As we go through the evening, the rain dissipates, so east of this line, you’ll be potentially dry all day with maybe a low risk of rain. It’ll be cool in those north-west winds, though they’ll be light.

For Friday, we have a chance of some wintry showers for the north-east of England and the Scottish Highlands early doors, but a dry start for most, again except Ireland, where a new rain front has arrived overnight to give potentially heavy rain for Friday morning and likely rain all day for you guys. Further east for the U.K, it’ll be a dry day, except for those wintry showers over Scotland and the north-east coast of England. Temperatures will remain cold due to that north-east wind, lucky to hit mid-single figures, so feeling proper winter like.

At this stage the weekend looks potentially pretty crap really, no other words describe it. With a pretty intense low pressure system moving across the U.K. and Ireland bringing rain and high winds across Ireland and into all parts of the U.K. on Saturday. So, heavy rain, or possibly wintry showers likely for Saturday, especially along the east coast and over higher ground. These will clear by the evening for most parts, but a new rain front pushes in again over Sunday bringing more of the same for Ireland initially and then later in the afternoon / evening for the rest of the U.K. This rain, wintry showers will be accompanied by a brisk / moderate, westerly winds and slightly milder temperatures.

Weather Outlook

The deep low that looks to be putting a kibosh on the coming weekend is projected to slink south for the start of next week and that’ll do two things potentially. Firstly, it’ll change the wind direction to an easterly one next week at some point and potentially drag colder air off the continent. So that means we’ll have a drier week on the whole next week. It’ll still be unsettled, especially at the beginning of the week, so some moisture about, but it wouldn’t surprise me if we do pick up some snow showers next week along with that colder air. The second part of the week should be cold and dry as the influence of that low moves away. In short, typical end of January weather and let’s face it we need some cold air before the spring because nature doesn’t know whether it’s coming or going at present!

Agronomic Notes

A short one this week, one because of BTME, and two because, with the saturated conditions, not a lot is happening out there that I haven’t already commented on.

One piece of feedback I am getting though is on Leatherjacket (and I suspect Bibionid sp.) activity. Lot’s of people are reporting extremely high numbers of larvae present in test sprays, with one end-user quoting > 160 per m2 recently (thanks Peter). I guess this shouldn’t be a surprise because the mild, wet winter will really suit these species down to the ground. In other years I’ve seen lot’s of Bibionid activity (Fever Fly for example) when we’ve had a mild, wet December, as well as Leatherjackets.


Bibionid larvae – top image
Leatherjacket larvae – bottom image

The difference between the two that I use is the positioning of the head, with the Leatherjacket recessed into the main body and the Bibionid, apparent as a clearly protruding structure. You’re also likely to find the Bibionid species right in the surface of the thatch layer, typically in clusters of 10-15 larvae, whereas Leatherjackets tend to be seperate and deeper in the profile. As I understand it, Chlorpyrifos is only labelled for Leatherjacket control.


Cluster of Bibionids in surface fibre layer…

Ok that’s it for now, got to run through my talk again, have my last strong coffee and visit the gents for the 15th time, not that I’m nervous you understand 🙂

All the best

Mark Hunt