28 August 1998

Autumn nightmare as slugs soaring?

VOLUNTEER rape seed already destroyed by slugs testifies to the pressure newly-sown crops will come under this autumn, says Beds-based Axient arable consultant Nigel Thorne.

Wet weather in the summer sent slug numbers soaring. "We were even finding them on the ears of winter barley. It could be a nightmare this autumn."

Colleague Bill Barr agrees. He is encouraging growers with a history of slug damage to apply a half-rate (7kg/ha) of mini pellets where practical, four to five days before sowing.

Only rarely, where seed-beds are loose and cobbly, is it worth mixing pellets with the seed, he maintains.