19 November 1999

Reservations over use of aphicides this year

AN aphicide will not figure in this years autumn cereal sprays, despite having done so for many years.

Mr Grant Suttie acknowledges the risk of BYDV, but questions widespread insecticide use at this time of year.

"We did get BYDV one year, but it was hard to tell what effect it had on yield. We have had a lot of mild winters recently, but I have not seen any benefits from an autumn aphicide when we have sprayed half fields.

"The big question is what is it doing to all the other insects out there. So this year I am sending back all the Sumi-Alpha (esfenvalerate), which David Luke, my adviser from Lothian Crop Specialists, recommended should go on with the herbicide."

On herbicides, however, he is happy to take the advice to apply various mixtures of Stomp (pendimethalin) or DFF and IPU which normally give adequate control of most problem weeds on the farm, including annual meadow grass.

The big difference this season is that seed-beds and soil conditions are ideal for the mixtures to work, he says. "Last year we did not get anything on until the spring, and one second wheat in particular over-run by knotgrass gave only 2.9t/acre." &#42