Understanding the weed, pest and disease risks from the point of establishment, is key to protecting ultimate profit, according to experts speaking ahead of this year’s CropTec event.
“Growers face a constant threat to yield from day one of the season,” says Certis’ Tim Eaton.
“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,” explains Tim.
“Therefore, reducing the disease with a mix of cultural and chemical controls, such as a specialist seed treatment, delayed drilling, and an early nitrogen application in the spring, will be key.”
Geoffrey Bastard, Certis’ Technical Specialist, adds that the hot and dry summer weather caused low blackgrass dormancy, and an early flush of blackgrass emergence in some areas.
“Although this has provided an opportunity to spray off the weed ahead of drilling, there may still be seeds yet to emerge after crops have been drilled. So, 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.”
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.”
According to the AHDB, slug damage is estimated to result in crop losses of £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. This will be key as we head into the wetter autumn months, particularly for slow to emerge and later drilled crops,” concludes Geoffrey.
At CropTec 2018, Certis are sponsoring the Crop Establishment seminar and their BASIS-qualified team will be on hand 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.
“By using this data, the app is more accurate and tailored to each situation, not only for the farmer but for other farms in the area. Over time this will allow growers to monitor their slug numbers to spot trends or particular problem areas,” he says.
He adds that the added benefit of weather forecast data means better informed decisions on responsible slug pellet application can be made.
“If slug pressure is high and rain is also forecast, you would be better placed to use a high-quality and durable ferric phosphate slug pellet, such as Sluxx HP to effectively control the pest.”
The app is now available to download from the Apple and Android app stores.