South: Millipede damage suspected in oilseed rape

After a frustratingly late end to harvest most people managed to get their winter rape drilled and most is now growing away, albeit slowly.

I had my suspicions that something other than slugs was nipping it off below the surface when a colleague suggested he had the same suspicions and suggested it might be millipedes. Apparently young sugar beet plants get damaged by millipedes and on further inspection there did seem to be very high numbers. Any comments or observations on this would be most welcome.

Winter wheat is being drilled as I write and is going in very well with good seed-beds and plenty of moisture. Slug numbers are very high in places, especially after winter rape, and some fields have been treated pre-drilling with a reduced rate of pellets. If there are large areas of rape stubbles that are clean of volunteers I would suggest that closer inspection and remedial treatment is worthwhile.

Most people have taken on board my message from last year that in high grassweed situations the pre-emergence residuals really must go on pre-emergence of the target weeds to have the best effect. It’s nice to see the sprayer following the drill in many cases. Last year the flufenacet/DFF/prosulfocarb mixes were very successful and that is the backbone of my pre-em strategy this year. 

Winter barley will be next on the list and it’s even more important to get the sprays on in good time here as some of the mixes can be quite hot on the crop if sprayed peri or post-emergence. With good seed-beds and moisture the residuals should work well this season.

At the time of writing there are still bits of linseed, millet and the like waiting to be cut. With a good week forecast hopefully they will all be in soon.

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