South: Slug numbers low at the moment

Last week I wondered what had happened to the slug population since, despite my best efforts, I couldn’t find any, or much evidence of activity. Very few of my rape crops had received a dose of slug pellets, but in the last couple of days I have seen some evidence of slug activity and have now had to pellet in places.

Mindful of the 210g/ha metaldehyde limit before the end of December I am using a 1.5% formulation pellet which works just as well and would allow three applications between now and the year end.

Numbers are still low compared to last year and very low compared to autumn 2008. Hopefully if we are all responsible with pellet usage metaldehyde will still be with us this time next year.

Harvest seems to be dragging on for some although good progress has been made this last week. Levels of sprouting seem relatively low considering the deluge of rain we have had and reports of Hagbergs of up to 225 in Solstice post rain are very surprising.

Wheat yields this year are the most variable I can remember. Brashy light ground producing 6t/ha in places and heavy land feed wheats up around 11-12.5t/ha, sometimes on the same farm.

The recent rains, although frustrating, have led to a very good flush of blackgrass emerging pre-drilling. I must admit I cant remember the last time I have been able to take out a carpet of blackgrass with glyphosate on cultivated ground coming out of wheat and going into oilseed rape.

Early drilled oilseed rape crops are now at the two leaf stage and are looking well. Later drilled crops are yet to emerge with quite a lot still to be planted. With rain forecast for the week ahead at least crops drilled now will germinate and grow away quickly.

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