Crop Watch: slug threat reaches new high

Slug pressure has reached unusually high levels in several parts of the UK, according to latest reports from FWi’s team of agronomists.

Essex-based Andrew Blazey from Prime Agriculture described numbers of the pest as the “highest ever seen” in wheat following oilseed rape, although crops were emerging well despite the threat.

“The pressure has been so high some grain hollowing has been observed even with Deter (clothianidin)-treated seed.

“Where crops after oilseed rape are yet to be treated, this should be done as soon as possible and in some earlier drilled crops a follow-up treatment will be required early post-emergence as the first application of pellets have all been eaten!”

Tod Hunnisett in Hampshire said rain had been welcomed for softening up seed-beds, but it meant slug activity was still high.

There was a similar situation in Northumberland, where David Cairns said recent rain had started an “explosion” in slug numbers. He urged growers to remain vigilant and apply pellets when thresholds were met.

Aphid numbers were also high and very visible on plants, so a persistent aphicide would be needed, he added. “With forward prices for all commodities where they are, it is well worth chasing the extra yield, and most inputs can be well justified this year.”

It was patchy and erratic oilseed rape emergence that had been causing Matford Arable’s Neil Potts a few sleepless nights. “…we now have rape crops with two distinct growth stages in the same field.

“With a lot of the crop being backwards for the time of year, it is going to be imperative to remove cereal volunteer and grassweed competition at the earliest opportunity, in order to give late-emerging plants a chance to establish and grow prior to the onset of winter,” he stressed.

To read any of the reports in full, click on the links above, or select one of the following regions:
North (David Cairns)
East (Andrew Blazey)
South west (Neil Potts)
South (Tod Hunnisett)

Cropping query? Why not post it on FWi’s Crop comments forum?

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