OILSEED rape sown directly from the combine need suffer no more slug damage than conventionally drilled crops – provided growers are diligent with their slug control.
This year 61 farmers used a combine header mounted seed broadcaster to establish 8000ha (20,000 acres) of rape, says Autocast director Peter Eaden. "Only about 400ha had to be pulled up – that is a 95% success rate."
Key to success is rigorous slug control. Pellets broadcast with the seed provide control beneath the straw.
"Growers may then need to go through with pellets up to four times. But with a saving of at least £30/acre on cultivation and drilling costs broadcasting is still going to work out far cheaper."
The Autocast broadcaster costs £3700.