Sugar beet growers need to look out for signs of leatherjackets as crops germinate and treat where necessary, Bayer CropScience has advised.

Reports of high infestations of the pest earlier in the season mean a treatment may be needed on treated or untreated seed, said the firm’s Bill Lankford.

Company trials in 2004 found that sugar beet plant stands from untreated seed increased by 20% where methiocarb-based slug pellets were used and by 26% where used on seed treated with Gaucho (imidacloprid) or Poncho Beta (beta-cyfluthrin + clothianidin).

“Growers should carry out a population risk assessment at germination and then make a decision whether to apply baits or not.

“The optimum timing for methiocarb baits is at germination with a window from post-sowing and before two true leaves,” he said.