Gran Bretaña: Cloddy seed beds pose high slug risk in potato crops
Growers are being warned about high slug risk in potatoes where crops have been planted into cloddy seed beds and are urged to counter the threat with a good quality pellet as soon as tubers reach golf ball size.
With wet soil conditions persisting this spring, producers have had limited opportunities to get potato crops established in the ground. John Keer of Richard Austin Agriculture said forcing progress has resulted in cloddy seed beds on bodied soils, which can bring unwanted side effects on the crop throughout the season.
“When you plant under marginal conditions, you aren’t going to get top quality or yield and there is very little you can do to row it back during the season.
“The last few springs have given us model planting conditions, but this season there are clearly a lot of crops that have been mauled in,” he noted.
Mr Keer believes the increased prevalence of clod and lack of finer tilth in these fields is going to significantly up slug pressure for many growers.
“Structure of the ridge is the single biggest factor. Wherever there’s clod, the slugs just love those surrounding channels, which enable them to move around more freely. They will inevitably be more of an issue this year,” he warned.
To protect crops against potential damage, he advised setting out traps promptly to monitor pest activity, particularly where seed was planted in suboptimal conditions.
This will help determine the best timing for applications of slug pellets, which ideally start as soon as tubers reach a golf ball size, then continue every second or third blight spray while slugs remain active.
“Use a durable, wet-extruded pellet, particularly if you are under irrigation. The cheaper, dry pressed formulations tend to fall apart soon after the first water application or rain,” Mr Keer remarked.
Kate Downes from Certis Belchim said Sluxx HP is an effective deterrent that fits into the durable category and is the ideal choice due its wet processed, pasta-based formulation with unique EDDS chelating agent.
“It has proven long-lasting efficacy under wet and irrigated conditions and its even pellet size means it can be spread accurately to distances up to 36m off sprayers, which is now a common practice across the potato area,” she added.