130916_HGT500-1000

Hi All,

Sept2013lowtrough

Courtesy of Meteoblue

A decidely cool feel to the weather at the moment, with our first Atlantic storm of the year passing through early this week, I say Atlantic, but really it’s come down from the north and it’s that cold, moist  air that’ll peg back temperatures and bring some further rain during the first part of the week, thereafter things could get better, drier and warmer by the weekend, particularly from Sunday onwards as high pressure builds. That low certainly pushed some rain down, we had 18mm or so across the weekend, but further south I’ve had 29mm reported already since Friday.

General Weather Situation

So, the first part of this week is dominated by that low pressure system shown above, which gradually sinks south into Europe.

For Monday, in central areas we start bright and breezy, but that cool westerly wind will soon ramp up the showers and these will move into the west coast of Ireland, Scotland, North Wales, and the north-west / south-west of England during the morning. Later on these showers will push inland over Ireland, Scotland and England, though still mainly affecting western coasts, pushed along by strong winds.

For Tuesday, we have a re-run of Monday, except the rain pattern and intensity will be different, with heavier rain over Munster and Connacht and this rain then swings round into the south-west of England, Wales, the north-west of England and then tracks along the south coast. It looks to get up about as high as The Midlands and not clearing the south until well into Tuesday evening. Temperatures will be well cool, low double figures in that strong wind, which will switch round to the north-west during the day.

Wednesday, looks a much better day for all of us, with that rain moving off to the continent and the winds lightening. We may even see the sun you know, that yellow thing, towards the mid-late afternoon. It’ll still feel cool as the wind remains north-west, but 2-3°C up on Tuesday. It will be pretty dry across most of the U.K and Ireland, with the only exception being the north-west, which looks on for some light, localised rain, early doors.

Thursday sees a dry start for the U.K, but a new rain front is due to push in from The Atlantic across Ireland from first thing, bringing a very wet start to the day for Connacht and Munster. That rain will drive eastwards across Ireland and reach western coasts by lunchtime, thereafter continuing eastwards across the U.K, but lightening in intensity as it does so. That wind is now westerly, but remaining on the cool side, similar to Wednesday, as its source is still the cold north.

For Friday we have not a bad end to the week with a dry day on the cards for most areas, maybe just the chance of some light, localised rain along the north-west coasts, but it’ll feel milder in a lighter, westerly wind, with temperatures pushing up to the mid-teens, more normal for this time of year. They’ll also be a bit of sunshine later in the morning away from western coastlines.

Good news I think, there’s high pressure building 🙂

The weekend looking ahead looks pretty good to be honest, save for some rain moving into Ireland on Saturday morning and pushing north-west into Scotland in the afternoon. Further south, it looks like being a hazy, warm (high teens) day, with light, south-westerly winds and some sunshine after early cloud cover breaks.  Good luck to all doing the London-Brighton off road cycle for The British Heart Foundation, should be a pleasant day for your guys and girls….Sunday looks to go one better, with temperatures pushing up into the twenties I think in the south of England, with a moderate / strong south-westerly wind. Further west and north, they’ll be more cloud cover and over Scotland, the risk of rain showers through the day and here the wind looks to be stronger as well.

Weather Outlook

Next week looks to be a better week by far with high pressure building in the south, so an ‘Indian Summer’ feel to things may be on the cards. I expect temperatures to be high teens, with some nice sunshine and dry with light winds. Now wouldn’t it be nice if this turns out to be accurate, maybe I can go onto the MetOffice Weather bonus package, where they get paid lot’s of money when their forecast is correct apparently, I wonder if they get it deducted when they cock up ? 🙂

 Agronomic Notes

Disease Activity

Not a very easy year to control Fusarium I think, compounded bWeatherStation160913y a cooler start to September than normal, some pretty difficult to forecast rainfall events and then last week, Thursday night to be precise, we picked up a temporary, warm front that pushed night temperatures into the high teens (see right) with the grass plant leaf saturated in moisture. In other words, ideal conditions for disease activity.

Furthermore we received 25mm + in a lot of locations over the weekend, so any active ingredient (A.I)  applied late in the week may have been washed off the plant into the thatch layer and this will both delay its uptake and reduce it’s efficacy.  The cool days of the weekend and the bulk of this week will also transpire to make root uptake of an A.I pretty slow, so if you’re waiting for a systemic fungicide to do its job, you may be disappointed in the speed of uptake.

I sympathise with you guys out there having to control disease under these conditions, it’s not easy for sure, but as I indicated a couple of weeks ago, put yourselves in the shoes of course superintendents in Germany say, where they have 3 fungicides, none of them contacts and 1 of them pretty poor at controlling Microdochium.

Like over here in the U.K and Ireland, they are expected to produce clean surfaces 12 months of the year, not easy, I’d argue nearly impossible sometimes and that’s why it’s so important to focus on contributing factors to disease when it comes to Fusarium or other plant pathogens (Anthranose, Fairy Ring, Thatch Fungus, Nematodes, etc) for that matter. If the E.U has its way, our choices of products will be curtailed in the not-to-distant future and then life will get really interesting.

I’ve said it before and I’ll keep on saying it, surface fibre is the biggest contributing factor to disease development, of course it’s not the only one, you can have all your ducks in a row culturally and still get hit when disease pressure is so high (like now), but in a good number of scenarios, it’s where the finger needs to be pointed.

Looking ahead, if you can ride out this week then things should get easier, with drier, warmer weather and importantly some drying winds likely to reduce Fusarium activity significantly, but that’s not until the end of the week. In the meantime, the cool days and nights will drop plant growth right back and that means uptake of systemic fungicides will be slow with a capital ‘S’. The problem is the wind will delay spraying till probably Wednesday at the earliest, which isn’t great for some with active disease. Personally if I was making a fungicide application this week, I’d tank-mix in a little low temperature nitrogen and some iron (provided the mix is compatible of course) to stimulate uptake into the grass plant.

Worm Activity

The recent rain has kicked off worm activity, so now is a good time to spray provided you have some rain in your forecast after spraying to move the A.I off the grass plant and into the soil. Wednesday looks good for this, but if you can’t spray then, maybe it’s better to leave it until more rain is forthcoming because if the weather pans out as projected, next week will be dry, so if you spray (and then cut), you’ll remove your A.I before any rain has a chance to wash it in. The timing will be right though in the areas that are due to get rain at the end of the week – Scotland / Ireland / North-West of England primarily. Again, you have to watch your forecast.

That’s all for now, busy day / week ahead, off to Switzerland for the bulk of it, but unfortunately I think that low pressure may follow me down rainfall-wise !

Mark Hunt