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Pests in Winter wheat – March 2020

5 March 2020

Wheat bulb fly egg hatch is underway, but the waterlogged soils will drown most before they have a chance to get into the stems of most crops.

With the loss of chlorpyrifos, there are now no options for management of wheat bulb fly at this time of the season.  Crops that have tillered may well lose a tiller or two to wheat bulb fly, so it is only crops that are a bit behind that may lose whole plants.  However, the large winter kill of eggs and larvae is likely to keep damage below significant levels.

Slugs will be feeding on backward wheat that has struggled through the winter.  Spring growth should take most crops away from serious slug damage, but if leaf shredding is particularly noticeable then an application of slug pellets may be worthwhile.  Bear in mind the metaldehyde use guidelines, particularly that metaldehyde pellets should not be used within 10 metres of any field boundary or watercourse.

Ferric phosphate slug pellets have no such restriction on use and are as effective as metaldehyde.

a black slug gliding across winter grass

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