West: Apply slug pellets with care

Most of the cereal harvest is now complete, though thereis still wheat to be cut on higher ground. Beans and linseed areyet to be combined in most areas.

The first priority after harvest is to produce false seed-bedsto encourage weed germination. This is a very important first stepin the fight against grassweeds, particularly blackgrass andsterile brome.

Blackgrass seeds should have low dormancy following warm, dryweather in early summer. So it should grow rapidly in moist, finetilths and can then be killed with glyphosate.

If the dominant problem is with meadow, soft or rye brome, theseeds from these should be left on the surface for a month to ripenfully before cultivation starts.

The past two years’ wet weather has given little opportunity foreffective subsoiling, and many fields would benefit from loosening.It is essential that the subsoil is dry enough to crack whenlifted; if it is too wet it will merely smear. Soil conditions arebetter this year and the opportunity should not be missed.

Oilseed rape drilling has started and decisions need to be madeabout weed control. Do you spray pre-emergence or do you wait tosee if a crop has established first?

Pre-em will give the best broadleaf weed control, but after lastyear many farmers will wait until early post-emergence to spray. Ifblackgrass is the main target probably the best approach is a lowdose pre- or early post-emergence treatment for broadleaved weeds,followed by propyzamide in October.

Rape emergence will signal the start of the annual battleagainst slugs. Please only apply slug pellets if necessary and takeimmense care, keeping them well clear of watercourses anddrains

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