Arable News

  • Written by: Farmers Guide
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Increased slug risk in beet

Following the build-up of populations during the wet conditions of 2012, slugs could be a problem for many more sugar beet crops this season compared with previous years, says Bayer CropSciences molluscicide manager, Peter Stacey. 

Slug numbers increased dramatically during 2012 and, although we had a relatively cold and wet winter, they will have moved deep into the soil to survive so growers should not overlook this pest once milder weather arrives, he says.
The recent cold spell is unlikely to have affected numbers as slugs will have once again moved down into the soil to survive, he adds.
Sugar beet crops at particular risk are those where cover crops or ground cover were present over the autumn and/or winter, but slugs can survive quite happily on dead and decaying material in the soil. Preparation of a good, fine seedbed is important as this will restrict or slow slug movement and reduce damage, he advises.
The critical control period for slugs in sugar beet is between germination and the two to four leaves stage, so crops are at most risk in slow growing conditions especially where soils remain cold and wet.  After the four leaves stage, slugs may continue to attack the crop, but damage is of less economic consequence and seldom worth treating.
Peter says that, where possible, check fields prior to sowing by the use of shelter traps, baited with layers mash, and continue to monitor during crop emergence. If any slugs are found in any traps then treatment is necessary.
As the crop is open and the pellets are subject to weathering, a good quality, durable pellet containing methiocarb should be used. In most seasons a single application of a good quality slug pellet will be sufficient, he claims.

  • Written by: Farmers Guide
  • Posted:
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