The prevalence of slugs
The dry weather spoken of in Lincolnshire and East Anglia by fellow Crop Watchers would be a very welcomed sight over here in Cheshire. The few early drilled crops have established well and look in good shape, going into the winter with little concern.
The dry weather spoken of in Lincolnshire and East Anglia by fellow Crop Watchers would be a very welcomed sight over here in Cheshire. The few early drilled crops have established well and look in good shape, going into the winter with little concern. Later drilled crops are emerging in a slothful manner as the wet soils have cooled rapidly in the seeding zone. In some areas the seed has rotted away under the anaerobic conditions and more land than we would hope for is sodden and exposed. This does however leave fields in an ideal condition to be inspected for spring cropping. Problem areas identified and inspection pits are easy to dig and assess as the soils are in a weaker state. That reads easy – but the act less so. It can, however, lead to huge differences in cropping performance for a given field.
One common theme this autumn is the prevalence of slugs. They are following the normal risk patterns overall, but there are some fields which would be considered low risk that are being chomped away at. Growers who haven’t used pellets for nearly a decade are finding themselves targeted as crops struggle to grow away in cooling conditions. Slug pellets of choice here are Ferric Phosphate; I have seen some that have been down for over 2 weeks and had near 60mm of rain on them, still remaining a bait-able shape. Couple that with the lessened restrictions to Metaldehyde and it’s an easy decision to make.
Most of the fertiliser market is accounted for, but much is sold with the emphasis on price with limited or no advice on best practice, profitability and practicality. It is therefore worth noting that Sulphate will leach in the same manner as Nitrate; the two work together and sulphate will improve nitrate utilisation. Therefore a little and often approach is necessary for cereals with their prolonged vegetative growth period. To keep within the word count, I’ll leave P&K for another day!