Monday, December 10, 2018

Technical specialists help protect yield and profit from day one

November 1, 2018 by  
Filed under News & Business

Experts from Certis will be on hand at CropTec to discuss ways to tackle the three main threats of blackgrass, slugs and take-all, in order to protect fields, yields and profits from day one.

Understanding weed, pest and disease risks is key to protecting profit, says the company’s Tim Eaton. “Growers face a constant threat to yield from day one of the season. Soil-borne disease take-all, blackgrass and slugs are three significant threats to a crop’s success.

Take-all is estimated to affect half of UK wheat crops, leading to yield losses of up to 50% in second wheats. Reducing the disease with a mix of cultural and chemical controls can include seed treatments, delayed drilling and early nitrogen application in the spring.

Certis technical specialist Geoffrey Bastard (pictured) says low blackgrass dormancy and an early flush of emergence provided an opportunity to spray off the weed in some areas following the hot and dry summer. But there may still be seeds yet to emerge after crops have been drilled.

“Introducing a pre-emergence herbicide programme when soil conditions are suitable – which includes a base line of straight flufenacet – is vital to keep on top of pressure in the crop,” says Mr Bastard.

The next challenge is slug pressure, he stresses. “Although the summer drought helped to keep slugs at bay before harvest, growers have reported moderate to high population levels this autumn on some soil types.”

AHDB estimates suggest slug damage can result in crop losses of up to £43.5m a year. And with increasing restrictions on metaldehyde use, more growers are making the switch to ferric phosphate to tackle the pest.

“Using a high-quality ferric phosphate slug pellet with anti-moulding properties, such as Sluxx HP, will provide durability and increased visibility in the field for checking application patterns,” says Mr Bastard.

“This will be key as we head into the wetter autumn months, particularly for slow to emerge and later drilled crops.”

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