Longer lasting barley yellow dwarf virus protection was not the only benefit growers who used Bayer CropScience’s new insecticidal seed treatment Deter next autumn could expect, the firm’s Adrian Cottey said.

The compound’s unique – for a seed treatment – label claim of protection from grain hollowing damage by slugs was another, and possibly, for some growers, more important reason why it might be used.

“Quite a lot of growers have been using Secur (imidacloprid) because of its slug effects.”

Slugs were likely to become more of a threat with the rise in popularity of oilseed rape in the rotation, he suggested.

“It is a great crop for building up slugs and more farmers appear to be struggling with slugs in wheat after rape.”

The firm’s demonstration of the effect slugs can have on grains clearly showed how effective they are at killing seed.

Each attacked grain was uniformly grazed with the embryo removed.

“None of them will germinate, and the bad news is it only takes hours for hollowing to happen after the grain is introduced to where slugs are.”

That meant there was only a small window for applications of slug pellets to protect the seed, and even then, they were not always likely to be effective, said Mr Cottey.

The smaller slugs in the soil profile tended to be most damaging, he explained.

Pelleting the surface required those slugs to by-pass the grain on the way to the pellets on the surface.

“Which do you think they’re going to eat?” he asked.

And even if growers co-drilled pellets with the seed, quite a rare practice nowadays, then slugs would equally attack grain
and pellets if they liked each equally, Mr Cottey suggested.

“The perfect solution is to protect every seed with Deter.

On average in trials 28% more seed germinates when treated with Deter.

That works out to around 45 more plants a square metre.”

Deter wouldn’t stop stripping of foliage by slugs after emergence, he admitted.

“You might still need a follow up slug pellet application.”

mike.abram@rbi.co.uk