South: Start test baiting for slugs

A fair proportion of winter wheat has been drilled into excellent conditions after a good emergence of grassweeds was sprayed off pre-drilling.

The recent showers have generally been welcomed, so long as they don’t go on for too long. A lot of wheat is being followed up with pre-emergence herbicides in different guises which is also very satisfactory.

I’m pleased to say the vast majority of arable farmers have accepted, and adopted the principle of pre-emergence or very early post-emergence herbicides and have geared themselves up accordingly.

Oilseed rape is up and has finally started to move after an unexpectedly slow start. It came up all right but just seemed to sit there for a long time. Most have recently had, or about to have a graminicide. I tend to use tepraloxydim (Aramo) if blackgrass is the prevalent grassweed and propoquizafop for volunteers and increase the rate for brome.

I save the cycloxydims for later on in the season. Very rarely can we get away with one graminicide on oilseed rape if it hasn’t been ploughed, and the majority of mine have the second one in conjunction with propyzamide  or carbetamide. I still say allotting a big chunk of the herbicide budget on rape for grassweed control is money better spent than worrying about the odd speedwell plant.

I haven’t seen a lot of slug damage in crops but I have been surprised at the number of dead slugs after a low rate of pellets has been applied. I am recommending growers test bait their risky areas and treat accordingly; I find spreading a recommended rate over a small area of the field and going back to look 12-24 hours later gives a good indication of whether the rest of the field needs treating. Please don’t forget the metaldehyde stewardship guidelines.

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