Monthly Archives: November 2017

November 20th


Hi All,

Only a month to go to the shortest day and then we are on the way back to summer :). I always think it is kind of bizarre that we reach mid-winter before we normally receive any cold weather and mid-summer in June before the hottest weather arrives ?.

Thanks to everyone for coming along to the GCMA Conference to listen to my talk, a great venue at Mercedes World (thanks Bob and Jennie) and to the BIGGA South East Regional Seminar at Writtle College, another great venue and well-organised Kerry 🙂

So a very different feel to the weather this Monday after successive Monday morning frosts. As forecast we now have a mild, south westerly airstream in place and that means, mild, wet and windy is the outlook for the next week or so. Unwelcome the rain may be in some places but here in The Midlands, we need rain, as our reservoirs are currently below summer level with Rutland Water, 5ft down. That’s a lot of water required to get where we need to be before 2018.

BarraJust before I move onto the weather, there won’t be a blog next week as I’m off on my travels, this time to Mexico, saltwater fly fishing on the flats and in the Mangrove swamps for Bonefish, Tarpon and those toothy critters, Barracuda. I’m hoping to catch a glimpse of the Lemon Sharks and Saltwater Crocs and other wildlife, but at a respectful distance of course with the former. I’m kind of looking forward to it 🙂

General Weather Situation

So for Monday we have a much milder airstream in place and you’ll feel the difference as soon as you step out of the door, mild and windy like. No surprise then that we have some rain around, some of it heavy across Scotland and western coasts. We also have some showers inland crossing Ireland and down in the south east as well. Through the morning we will see rain cross Ireland and Scotland, pushing down into northern England and across Wales before moving inland. The majority of the rain will be north and west-orientated with that northern rain mass oer Scotland persisting for the entire day I am afraid. Cool here as well as you hang onto the colder weather whereas across Ireland, Wales and England it’ll feel very mild for the time of year with temperatures in the low to mid-teens buoyed by a strong to moderate westerly / south westerly wind. That north / south temperature divide will be a feature of the week.

Onto Tuesday and again we see a north / south divide with a very strong rain front pushing into Scotland overnight and falling as sleet and snow over higher elevations. This rain front has its origin in south west Ireland so stretches across Ireland diagonally and then up across northern England and Scotland. South of this we will stay dry (and dull)  most of the morning before that rain begins to push south in the afternoon into Wales and The Midlands for the 2nd part of the day.  The east / south-east may indeed miss all of this and therefore have a dry and dull day. Again we have that dichotomy of temperatures with Scotland cool and into the mid to high- single figures. Further south and west, it’ll be similar to Monday across Ireland, Wales and England, so low  to mid-teens is possible and with a moderate to strong westerly / south westerly wind.

Mid-week already and again an unsettled picture but Scotland looks to get a bit of a break with the rain forecast to affect south west Ireland, Wales and northern England initially as dawn breaks. Through Wednesday morning that rain will consolidate into heavier downpours with flooding likely across The South West, Wales and north west England. Again, east of this rain, it’ll be dull and possibly feature some light rain, whilst Ireland will see further rain in the afternoon, possibly more western and centrally-orientated. Scotland looks to stay mainly dry during the daylight hours on Wednesday. As we approach dusk that heavy rain across north west England and Wales begins to creep inland across northern England and The West Midlands. By nightfall we will see more rain across Ireland and pushing into Scotland whilst that heavier rain down south pushes slowly eastwards. Very mild again with low to mid-teen temperatures likely in that strengthening and gusty south westerly wind.

Overnight into Thursday and that main rain front passes eastwards and clears into The North Sea overnight to see us start the day with a reasonably dry picture, except for Scotland where we will see a continuation of wintry showers across Central Scotland. A chance to see the sun on Thursday morning as well. So dry, mild and sunny during the morning for most areas, except Scotland, but by the afternoon we will see rain pushing into The South West and Wales and this will quickly cross eastwards. At the same time we are likely to see rain across north Connacht and Donegal but for the rest of Ireland a much brighter and mild, drying day. That rain over the south of the U.K and wintry showers over Scotland fizzles out as we approach dusk to leave some isolated rain fronts affecting The Lakes and that’s about it, so a dry (ish) picture going into Friday.  Again very mild with mid-teens likely across Ireland, Wales and England, but single figures I am afraid for Scotland.

Closing out the week and I’ll be packing for warmer climes hopefully. Weather-wise, Friday sees a dry and much cooler start for all of the U.K and Ireland but it doesn’t last as almost immediately a front of heavy rain is projected to push into southern England through the morning pushing north and eastwards into The Midlands and East Anglia. Further west across Ireland and north across northern England and Scotland, a dry, settled day until the afternoon when rain will push northwards into northern England. Lighter winds on Friday will actually spell a cooler feel to the weather with temperatures a good 3-4°C down on the previous day across England, Ireland and Wales. As we close out Friday that rain front over southern and northern England consolidates to bring heavy rain for all of England and Wales with some of those showers turning wintry across The Pennines as we come under the influence of a more northerly airstream.

So how does the weekend look ?

Well cold that’s what as we pick up a more northerly airstream and this will turn those showers more wintry in nature with more consolidated rain over the southern half of the U.K on Saturday. So I think wet and cold across southern England but drier and frosty across Scotland and the north of England with a cold northerly wind in charge. Ireland I think will be dry on Saturday but appreciably cooler than of late for all of us, except perhaps the far south of England which will hang onto a milder airstream longest. So a wet start, clearing to leave a dry, cold picture for most of us on Saturday and Sunday I think we continue that cold theme with frost likely in bright, dry conditions for Wales, England and Ireland. Scotland in contrast will be cool, dull and possibly wet on Sunday, a real raw day I think.

Weather Outlook

Hmmm this is an interesting weather outlook because if Unisys are right we will be locked into an eastern low pressure system next week after initially starting mild. Now there’s always a caveat with the weather isn’t there and each time this autumn / winter I’ve seen this projected, the low has been moved eastwards and we have retained high rather than low pressure. This time I’m not so sure although it has to be said that projections differ for next week, some are with a more northerly airstream, some more westerly.

So next Monday I think we will be very windy and very wet starting off across Scotland but quickly affecting the rest of the U.K and Ireland. A gale force, westerly wind is likely initially. By Tuesday that low pressure is sitting east of us and so it’ll be drawing down some very cold air in a northerly airflow. If this happens I’d expect wintry showers will become more likely particularly across eastern coasts. Not particularly wet after the early part of the week but cold and showers pushed down on a northerly airstream in-between we will see some nice winter sunshine but it’ll feel raw with a capital ‘R’.  It should be noted that again we will have a high pressure system out west of us in The Atlantic so this will try to nudge in and push the low eastwards. Time will tell which one will dominate but currently it looks like the low pressure will throughout next week, it’s just a question of whether it’ll have a northerly or westerly component.

Agronomic Notes

Disease Activity

141117temphumLast week we picked up  some mild night time temperatures accompanied by high humidity as this screen shot from my trusty (so far) Netatmo Weather Station shows with 10.6°C and 98% humidity at 21.43 p.m. Curiously we also saw a similar peak last November at the same time.

Not surprisingly I noted disease activity associated with these favourable climatic conditions but mainly around the edges of areas previously infected rather than new infection sites.

I wonder if this is consistent with what you saw, i.e. activity around existing scars rather than new outbreaks of disease ?

Please feel free to feed back to me if at all possible.


If we look at the coming week we have a repeat of these conditions with several mild nights forecast and with unsettled weather, it’s no surprise that we will also have some high humidity levels as well.

The difference this week compared to last week will be the level of wind with a much windier week forecast. I wonder if this will make a difference ?


So above is my location’s weather forecast for this week in terms of minimum temperature (in orange columns) and relative humidity (blue line).

If we look at this more closely we can see periods of high projected air temperature and high humidity and it is these that could very easily cause activity from a Microdochium perspective. (Although I’d also expect other diseases like Red Thread to put in an appearance on high Ryegrass / Fescue swards and don’t rule out Superficial Fairy Ring because it is often active at low temperature)

I have marked the periods in red columns when I expect disease pressure to be highest this week…


Please feel free to feedback to me if this does or doesn’t transpire to be the case in terms of disease activity and whether it is on new or existing areas.

Silver Thread Moss (and bad nails)


In the picture above you can see the familiar ‘bowl’ shape of Silver Thread Moss (STM) and this along with its hydrophobicity makes it such a hard opponent to tackle when it comes to control.

Before though you do consider applying a product to control moss I always think you also need to consider why it is there in the first place because sometimes we are guilty of tackling the symptom rather than the cause.

Sometimes the cause can be due to accumulated fibre on the surface or poor rootzone characteristics causing water to be perched in the surface and thereby providing an ideal environment for moss to flourish.

In other cases it may be the exact opposite reason, where it occurs on areas of fine turf which are subject to droughting out and so loss of grass cover provides ‘voids’ in the sward for new moss to establish. I’ve said it before but STM can withstand high temperatures and levels of dessication even compared to the hardiest of grass species so it shouldn’t be a surprise to see it appear on thin stands of turf that are subject to dessication.

I remember a wetting agent trial I ran in 2006, we had a very hot August and after subjecting the plots to low irrigation levels I then turned the water off and not surprisingly noted grass stress in > 30°C temperature. In-between the patches of stressed grass I could see little green specks and on examination found out that they were colonies of Silver Thread Moss growing quite happily alongside bleached Poa annua and Bentgrass. A bit of an eye opener that was.

So it’s worth looking at where STM is occurring and then having a good think about whether you can change the environment it is growing in, to tip the balance away from it and towards healthier grass growth.

Speaking of tipping the balance, it is this period of the year, from November through to the end of February when I always think that the balance tips in favour of moss species (and Liverwort for that matter) when we have periods of low light and moisture. That’s why I think raising fertility (gently) mid-winter isn’t such a bad idea as it encourages healthier grass growth whenever we have a window and thereby tips the balance back towards grass and away from moss and the like.  If you are considering treatment with a chemical, it is 100% the case that moss must be fully-wetted up before you apply. It’s no good using high water volumes to try and achieve this because moss and Liverwort are hydrophobic when they are dry so they’ll do a great job of resisting water ingression. Even if you sprayed at 1,000L per hectare water volume it’s only the equivalent to putting 100ml of water across a m2 and that isn’t a lot in my books and certainly insufficient to wet up something like Silver Thread Moss.

Better then to let Mother Nature do the work for you and then follow with an application when it has done so.

Ok that’s it for this week, I have a long things-to-do-list to clear and some packing to be done before shipping out. Catch you on the flipside in early December hopefully 🙂

All the best.

Mark Hunt

November 13th


Hi All,

Another Monday, another frost, that makes it 4 this month and quite a change from the record-breaking warmth of October.  Along with frost we picked up our first snowfall for the year across Scotland / higher altitude parts of northern England and with it the Daily Tabloids threat of a 3 week Arctic blast. (Thanks Alan for the snippet below…)


They must have been extremely bored / drunk / stoned (delete where applicable)  to put together this headline because by later today we will be in double figures in Scotland and then the rest of the U.K by tomorrow. It just shows what utter crap they write when it comes to weather and for that matter, most subjects….As for running out of grit after 4 frosts, you must be joking ?

The one grain of truth is the fact that our temperatures are the same as say Moscow’s which makes Russia pretty mild for the time of year rather than us super cold.

I do get asked about our prospects for the winter and I always answer that you can’t say beyond 10 days but what I would note is that the current position of the jet stream favours colder air flow from the north and east so that increases the chance of a cold snap at some point, but when is another matter. I also note Paddy Powers odds for a White Christmas are disappointing low suggesting they either monitor the position of the jet stream as well or more likely read the Daily Mail / Express.

Onto this week…

General Weather Situation

So we start the week with another dry, cold and frosty morning for many with the exception of north west Scotland where a rain front is pushing in and turning to sleet and snow where it meets the resident cold air. As we progress through the day, this rain front sinks south over Scotland and also pushes into Connacht and moves south east during the afternoon. For the rest of the U.K, we have a dry, sunny and pleasant winters day with cloud building from the west heralding a rise in temperature. Ireland looks to have a mianly dry day on Monday, except for that rain pushing into Connacht later in the day. Mild here with double figure temperatures. For central and southern U.K, we will be cold today with that north westerly wind in attendence, lighter though than the one which froze my nadds off yesterday on Draycote reservoir. Through the day the wind will shift to the west and that pushes in milder air so we will see the temperature rising as we approach dusk rather than going the other way.

For Tuesday, that northern rain front has slipped south overnight into northern England, Wales and possibly The Midlands / South and across Ireland too. By dawn most of that rain will have fizzled out with only the North Welsh coast and The Pennines still affected but it means Tuesday will be a cloudier day for most with some of that cloud over Ireland thick enough for some drizzly rain on occasion. A much milder day though for all of us with temperatures in the low double figures and dry for most in a moderate westerly wind. Later in the afternoon we see a new rain front push into Connacht (you guys again 🙁 ) and push across the northern half of Ireland through the course of the evening.

Mid-week already and Wednesday brings a more unsettled picture with rain pushing eastwards across the north of England, Wales and The South West as well as across Ireland, Through the course of the morning we will see more consolidated bands of rain push eastwards across Ireland, the southern half of Britain and Scotland as well. By the late afternoon most areas except perhaps the far east will likely have seen some rain. So another dull day, mild again in that westerly airflow and wet in places, with that rain pushed along by a light to moderate breeze. Temperatures again in double figures across Ireland, Wales and England, but cooler across Scotland as you are the first to lose that westerly airflow.

Overnight into Thursday and we continue with that unsettled picture with a band of heavier rain pushing into Scotland from the west and moving across country. The same for Ireland with a band of rain moving down from Connacht across Munster and departing stage right by dawn hopefully. This band of northern rain will probably extend down into The Pennines and Northern England early on but as we progress through the morning that rain is replaced by brighter, cooler weather from the north west and along with it a cooler, north westerly wind. Further south we see a similar picture with that northerly rain band moving south through the course of the day and bringing colder, brighter weather behind it, with a change in the wind to north westerly perhaps only reaching the far south on Thursday night. So a much colder picture as we finish Thursday with the risk of frost I think in many places.

Closing out the week, Friday sees that northerly change in the wind bring snow and sleet showers to North Scotland and these will push south into Central Scotland in time for the morning rush hour. For Ireland and Wales, we start pleasant enough with some cloud cover keeping the temperatures honest, but further south we will be dry, bright and perhaps frosty as we start Friday. Through the morning that band of wintry showers extends south into northern England so another dusting likely for The Pennines me thinks. For the 2nd half of the day, we see cloud cover build over The Midlands and the south of England but those wintry showers look to fizzle out on Friday night. A pretty raw day on Friday for us all with temperatures back down into the 5-7°C territory 🙂

The outlook for the weekend is mixed I think…

Saturday looks on the whole dry for us all in the morning anyway but by lunchtime there is a risk of rain pushing into south west Ireland and pushing across country for the 2nd part of the day. For Scotland, England and Wales I think it’ll be a cold, dry day with varying amounts of cloud and temperatures sitting in the 5-7°C range, pinned down by a north westerly / westerly airflow associated with a cold low pressure system. Sunday to me looks like being dull and unsettled across the west with an Atlantic low due to push in, whilst the U.K looks like being cool, dry and sunny, sandwiched as we are between two low pressure systems.

Weather Outlook

So next week looks quite different to recent weeks in that we are set to start the week with I think an Atlantic low pressure system in charge. Right from the off I think we will see heavy rain for Ireland on Monday and this will push across to affect the rest of the U.K on Tuesday in a strong southerly / south westerly air flow. I think the north west will catch it on Wednesday and Thursday but with the low pressure system sitting south of the U.K, I believe we will see more rain across the south of the U.K at the end of next week. So an unsettled week, next week, with strong (cool) winds and frequent rain.

Agronomic Notes

Fungicide Longevity…

I got quite a lot of feedback last week about my piece on apparent fungicide longevity through October 2017 vs. 2016, so I’ve decided to pick another geographical locations to determine if the model I put up last week for the Thame, Oxford location was consistent.

So I’ve picked York (thanks Adrian for the stats) as another location to run the comparison of  growth potential 2017 vs. 2016 and then look at how long a fungicide application would have lasted for potentially.

In crunching the stats, I also uncovered another reason why October 2017 was a tricky one…


So in the above graph we see two schematics, one in red showing the cumulative G.P for 2017 and one in green, 2016. I have again assumed that a fungicide application was made on the 1st of October in both years and that the total longevity of that application was around 10, total G.P.

So for the application in 2016, we see the projected fungicide longevity to be 26 days (identical to the Thame location coincidentally), whereas for 2017, we reached that same cumulative G.P figure on the 16th October. (15th actually if you’re splitting hairs).

So again we see that we have 10 days less longevity in 2017 than 2016, in a different location.

As hinted above, there’s another twist in the tale though because I also noticed that the mid-part of October 2017 displayed the highest  daily G.P. So if we look at the figures in reverse and assume when we apply we have 100% concentration of fungicide and then assume it is removed in clipping yield according to growth potential, we can see that we run out of product on the 16th of October, but if we aslo overlay the daily G.P figures, we can see that at this point in the month, the disease pressure (as denoted by G.P) was at its highest…


So in other words, as our fungicide cover was at its potential lowest, the disease pressure was at its potential highest, and that’s why some places got caught out…

Now I accept that this is a simplistic model and that other factors including PGR usage, grass species, nutrition levels, speed of fungicide uptake will all have a bearing on this, but it goes to show why it was difficult to manage disease last month.

Looking ahead…

With the milder westerly airstream forecast to push in at the early part of this week and then depart again in time for the weekend (why does it always do this ?), we may see a spike in disease activity (around existing scars more likely than new infection) on Wednesday this week as we enjoy a mild day, mild night and high humidity. After that I expect it to decline as that north westerly airflow takes over.

From a nutrition perspective or looking to apply a fungicide this week, then this spike should coincide with a good uptake window before things settle down again later in the week with the arrival of the cooler temperatures. If the Atlantic low arrives at the end of the weekend into the west, then this week may be your only application window for a little while.

The advent of cooler air temperatures and frost has dropped the soil temperature down nicely to 5-7°C (depending on your location) and this is pretty typical of where I’d expect us to be approaching mid-November and it means that spray applications to outfield areas (such as iron on sports pitches or fairways)  will persist for longer now that the clip rate is declining. Remember if you’re treating moss, it is far better to do this when it is fully-wetted up, as it will take the iron in better.

Ok short and sweet as I have 2 talks this week that I just need to final prep for, (you know deep breathing exercises and ironing !) one to the GCMA and one at the Bigga South East Regional Conference.

All the best for the coming week.

Mark Hunt






November 6th


Hi All,

Welcome to the first blog of November and for the 2nd Monday in a row we start with a hard, penetrating frost down to -2.5°C here last night, that’s a pretty chilly one for the start of November.


Trust me we need it because currently we are way higher than we should be for the start of November in terms of air and particularly soil temperature, something I don’t talk alot about really. Normally for the start of November we’d be down at 6-7°C soil temperature, but this year we were in double figures. (though after today’s frost we have dropped soil temperature significantly)

I know some of the reservoirs I fish that their water temperature is usually down at a similar figure but at the weekend they were sitting at 13°C and with very little water in them as well.  After a very dry October here in The Midlands, I can’t see us catching up any time soon in November though there will be some rain early on this week. Now we all know Mother Nature has a habit of balancing things up year on year, but if it doesn’t, we will have water restrictions next year.

General Weather Situation

So we start the week, cold, dry and frosty with high pressure extending a welcome hand to us, but this will soon be knocked aside by a northerly low pressure pushing in from the North Atlantic so we’ll see change first over Scotland and north west Ireland where rain will push in from the start of the morning rush hour and move inland. A real north / south – west / east split as that low pressure pushes in mild air from the south west for Ireland and Scotland whereas we will remain cold with light northerly winds for the rest of the U.K. By lunchtime Monday that rain is covering Scotland and moving down to The Borders and at the same time pushing into the west of Ireland. For the afternoon, the south and central regions of the U.K will have a dry, cold, but lovely winters day, whereas for Wales and The South West, we will see cloud building from the west. By dusk that slow-moving rain front is intensifying across the west of Ireland so a pretty wet end to the day for Connacht I’d say and we will also see that rain into Wales and moving eastwards slowly. Temperature-wise 7-8°C for central U.K and a milder 11-13°C for Scotland and Ireland.

Overnight into Tuesday and that rain looks set to have cleared Ireland and the west coast of Scotland by dawn though amounts will be heavy overnight for Munster and Leinster. The band of rain will now be sitting from Edinburgh and extending down through northern England, across Wales and The South West and I’d expect amounts to be heavy in some areas, particularly The North West which has had a clattering lately, sorry lads. East and south of this rain we will see a much cloudier, dull start as that rain pushes cloud before it. Through the course of Tuesday this band of rain moves really slowly and that means amounts that fall may be high in some locations. By lunchtime it should have cleared Scotland completely and most of Wales, leaving England to pick up the rain for the 2nd half of Tuesday. I should add after a wet Monday, Ireland and the west of Scotland looks to have a much drier, sunnier day on Tuesday. So by dusk we see that rain band sitting over the east of the U.K in a line drawn from Newcastle down to The Isle of Wight. We will then see a lighter band of rain push into the west of Ireland. So a kind of role reversal on Tuesday in terms of temperature, with Scotland and Ireland, cold and dry, sitting at 6-8°C and the rest of the U.K milder under that cloud and rain, just nudging into double figures on a strong southerly wind.

Wednesday sees that rain clearing the east of the U.K overnight so we start all areas with hazy sunshine and dry. This isn’t to last for the west of Ireland where a new rain front pushes in during Wednesday morning and moves slowly east, across country. For the U.K, we look to have a cool, dry and settled day on Wednesday with the east coast possibly enjoying most of the sunshine before cloud moves in from the west. Winds will be light to moderate and from the north west and that’s what will peg back temperatures to high single figures for the U.K, but milder across Ireland with that rain and cloud cover. As we progress through Wednesday evening we will see rain push into north west Scotland and move eastwards.

Onto Thursday and that rain across Ireland and Scotland has cleared across to the west of the U.K and Wales, fizzling out somewhat as it does so into a band of thick cloud that may bring light rain first off as it moves across the U.K. Scotland looks to start dry but Ireland has a cloud mass sitting right over it, so dull, dreary and damp I’m afraid for you guys. So a dull day for the west on Thursday with some rain pushing into north west Scotland for the 2nd half of the day clearing Ireland as it does so. There’s maybe a chance to see some hazy sunshine for the 2nd half of the day across The Midlands and south of England and with lightening north westerly winds, you may just see the temperature nudge up into double figures (gosh golly). For Ireland and the west of the U.K, including Wales, that cloud cover will bring with it milder temperatures, so here low teens are expected, the same for Scotland.

Closing out the week and on Friday we see high pressure try to push in from The Atlantic, but it’ll butt up against a continental low pressure at the weekend, more on this later. So overnight we see that low stubbornly influencing the weather across the west and north with rain pushing into Ireland and also Scotland. By mid-morning it’ll be into Wales and the north of England, but lightening as it moves south. Central and southern U.K will start dry, possibly bright but it won’t be long before thick cloud cover pushes south for the 2nd half of the day bringing rain to Wales, the north of England and maybe The Midlands after dusk. So a better 2nd half of the day than the first for Ireland and Scotland and vice-versa for Wales and England.

Looking at the weekend and it’s a tricky picture to forecast because of the relative projected position of that Atlantic high and continental low. My take on the weekend is that it will be cool and unsettled with rain pushing down on an initially westertly wind in the west, but an increasingly cool, north westerly wind for the U.K pushing cloud and some rain across on Saturday. Sunday could be a cool, calmer and drier day with high pressure pushing that low eastwards so a more settled picture possibly with less risk of rain, but plenty of cloud around.

Weather Outlook

So next week looks like high pressure will push in slowly from The Atlantic though we will feel its influence first on Sunday possibly. So I’m thinking that next week looks by and large, dry, cool but possibly dull and foggy with very little wind. The first part of the week promises to be milder with a westerly air flow but as we pass mid-week I think this will turn more northerly and chillier. There will be some rain around but I think it’ll mainly be for the far north west of Scotland as a low passes by early in the week.

Agronomic Notes

Since it is the first blog of the month, I will take us through some pretty interesting GDD / G.P information and then drill down further into the detail to look at why October 2017 was such a brutal disease month for many and how it differed from 2016 and the like.

Again I’d like to take this opportunity to say thanks to everyone for contributing information, without it I couldn’t easily do this.

U.K GDD Information – Location – The Oxfordshire


So looking at the monthly totals we see October 2017 came in as the warmest October we have recorded since we started this process back in 2010.

It is however with comparison against 2016 though that we truly see how warm this October really was.

So October 2017 came in with a total GDD of 228, compared to October 2016, which came in at 134.5. That’s just under 70% warmer than last year from a GDD-perspective and that’s the first clue as to why this October was such a tricky one to manage disease-wise. It should also give us a clue into respective growth levels, disease severity and ultimately fungicide performance, more on this later.


Cumulatively y.t.d we signed off the end of October with a total GDD of 2015.3, that’s the first time we have ever reached the 2,000 mark for a year and we still have two months to go !

Whichever way you dress it up, for this location it’ll be the warmest year ever and by some margin.

This is why I do this, month in and month out, because I believe these stats (which enable us to measure potential grass growth and compare them with prior years) are vital not only to looking back at our year but also they will ultimately help us to plan ahead.

October 2017 – GDD and Rainfall Stats – UK Locations


Quite a lot of variability in the GDD and rainfall stats for October, but particularly in the latter with Northampton in The Midlands coming in as the driest location at 9.3mm and Manchester just pipping Okehampton for the wettest, at 93.7mm, in other words 10 x the rainfall from one location to the other. When you look at The North West’s weather in October, you’ll see that not only did they have a wet month, but very few drying days in-between, with only 8 days out of 31 without rain.


Thame and Cardiff clocked in as the warmest locations with GDD totals > 220 and interestingly very similar to Septembers total. That was indeed a pattern in general with October returning very similar GDD totals to September in a number of locations.

October 2017 – GDD and Rainfall Stats – Irish Locations


For Ireland we again see that rainfall pattern split between the west and the east and indeed the south and the east. Not surprisingly for anyone that travels to that neck of the woods, Valentia came in both warmest and wettest with 151mm of rain. Contrast that with Dublin where the weather station at Casement recorded 46.3mm, roughly 1/3. We can also see the difference being close to the sea makes in terms of milder weather with a total GDD for the month of October of 160 at Casement, but 196 just a few miles east on the coast at Killiney.

Looking at a comparison of September 2017 vs. October 2017, the pattern is more normal with a 15-20% reduction for October vs. September. If I compare locations between Ireland and the U.K, we can see that we are on average 20-25% warmer this side of the Irish Sea, not an advantage though in October because that warmth drives grass growth and disease and it is this combination that makes life so difficult at times.

October 2017 – Detailed Analysis


Above is a trace of the daily Growth Potential shown in red for 2017 and green for 2016. I think you can clearly see the difference in the two graphs !

If I add up the respective Growth Potential figures for October 2016 and 2017 for this location, there is a 73% difference.

Why is this significant ?

Fungicide Efficacy and Longevity


So here’s the same graph as above but expressing the data cumulatively.

Again you can clearly see the difference between this year and last, well I hope you can anyway.

Now let’s consider the following scenario ;

In both years we make a systemic fungicide application on the 1st of October and for the sake of this example, let’s just say that we know that a typical systemic fungicide will last for a total Growth Potential of 10.0, it’s a nice easy round number for me to work with on a Monday morning 🙂

Let’s see how long the applications last when we compare 2017 vs. 2016 ?


So in October 2016, that systemic fungicide would have got to the 26th day before it was grown out of the grass sward, whereas in October 2017 it would have got to the 14th day.

So there it is in back and white.

Why didn’t your fungicide regime / strategy perform as well as it did in 2016 ?

Quite simply because it was grown out in roughly half the time of a ‘normal’ October, but that’s not all…


The second part of the equation is the severity / activity of the disease.

If we look at the chart above you can see that we had a lot of periods during October when we were nearly maxed out in terms of the growth potential of grass. There is clearly a correlation between the growth potential of grass and the growth potential of a pathogenic fungi, although they both rely on other factors as well to grow.

So the warmer it is, the faster Microdochium nivale will reproduce as a population and the harder it is to stop this happening with a fungicide. For much of October we experienced Microdochium nivale at its most severest because we had the double whammy of high humidity (as I have been showing through this month in my blog’s and high air temperature)

In summary, fungicide performance in October 2017 was compromised by a very fast ‘grow out rate’ and very aggressive disease population growth, which in some cases out-stripped the ability of the fungicide to hold it back.

Looking ahead….

With milder weather this week for the west and some moisture I would still expect disease pressure to be moderate – high across Ireland in particular because of the milder night time temperatures. For the U.K, there’s currently no sign of a re-occurence of high humidity / high night time temperatures in the forecast, so we can relax a little on this front.


You can clearly see this in the growth outlook for the next 7 days with the daily G.P rarely exceeding the 0.25 mark. Compare that with a month ago !

Ok that’s it for this week, hopefully you’ll have found that interesting as you digest all that info over a cuppa 🙂

All the best..

Mark Hunt