Hi All,

General Weather Situation

The high pressure that has dominated the last week or so is set to drift away over the next few days and be replaced by a nasty cold low pressure, the one I referred to last time as containing cold air and snow, well it’s on its way down the country later this week, so a return to winter for some parts for sure by next weekend.

This low will push cool, wet air down the country from Tuesday onwards, though initially any moisture will be confined to Scotland, the North of England and Ireland, however from Friday / Saturday, things look to turn much colder with an Artic blast bringing sleet / snow / rain to Ireland, Scotland, Wales and the North of England by the weekend.

The south of England should stay reasonably dry during next week with acceptable daytime temperatures until the end of the week, but this will mean frost is likely where skies clear, with the highest risk of frost at the beginning and end of the coming week and possibly a respite mid-week.

Regional Specifics

Ireland will start off cloudy this week, before the low begins to move in Tuesday afternoon bringing cool showers to Sligo, North Mayo / Connacht and these will work their way South-East to affect most of Ireland during the day. They will also affect Scotland on Tuesday, moving south on Wednesday to affect the North of England and Wales by mid-week.

A line from the Midlands-South seems to be set to stay dry till late Thursday when cold and blustery showers move down from the North, but the South of England should stay mainly dry till the end of the week, when the real rain pulse moves in. Initially it’s due to reach the South-West of Ireland on Friday afternoon, but it’ll soon move easterly into Wales, the South-West, the North of England, Scotland and the Midlands in the early hours of Saturday with blustery, heavy showers of sleet or snow during Saturday, as temperatures plummet. It’s unlikely to be much above 3-4°C during the day, but feeling much colder in the wind, so you can put those shorts back in the draw for awhile yet 🙁 . The wind direction will be Westerly mid-week, moving round to the West / North-West by the end of the week.

Outlook

The early part of next week starts quiet before a fast-moving, intense low pushes through on Tuesday bringing high winds and heavy rain to all places, but once this moves through temperatures should start to recover, as there are signs of milder weather from Wednesday onwards, though the danger of frost won’t go away.

Agronomics

Soil temperatures will take a bit of a hammering by the end of the week, so I don’t expect them to be much above 4-5°C by the weekend.

This will slow down growth and most likely knock the colour out of higher height of cut areas with the repeated frost and cold winds of the coming weekend.

I don’t suppose we should be surprised by a return to cold weather because February was such a mild month with an average soil / air temperature of 6.0  /  7.7°C in 2011, compared to 2.7 /  4.3°C for 2010.

Interestingly I took some rainfall samples during February and there was wide fluctuation in both the pH of the rain that fell and the nitrogen content.

I recorded the following ;

N Content per 25mm of rainfall            pH
13 / 02 / 2011                    6.02 kg / N / Ha                    6.7
19 / 02 / 2011                    1.66 kg / N / Ha                    7.7
25 / 02 / 2011                    0.65 kg / N / Ha                    6.4

The lab retested the 13th February result and it stands though should be treated with caution, but why we had so much N in the rain then I don’t know to be honest.

The pH variability is also an area of mystery because I’ve never previously seen rain fall with an alkaline pH, but I can only report what I see.

Disease-wise, we have some Fusarium from the week before last when temperatures were mild and plenty of activity by Corvids with Bibionid species the main culprit.

Spray windows are confined to the early part of the week for Ireland, Scotland and the North of England, but extend longer into the week for the South of England, though alot depends on frost in the morning and wind strength.

Personally I’d hang fire with any spraying this week unless it’s iron on moss. If you’re planning to hit moss with a granular application then this week is a good time to get granulars on as the dry conditions will allow you to apply product and the rain front coming through at the end of the week will break these down.

Wrap up well and all the best.
Mark Hunt