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