A quick look around crops today I had chance to take a few pictures – things not looking bad really despite the constant wet weather and high slug pressure this season. Certainly looking over hedgerows at neighbours crops established via more conventional methods I would not want to swap positions with them right now !
Wheat after OSR looking down the rows
We have kept well on top of slug problems so far despite vast numbers present pre drilling. I think that drilling crops with minimal soil disturbance has kept the problem on top and therefore much easier to target with pellet applications.
We have used exclusively Ferric Phosphate based pellets this year, this natural product is certified for use in organic farming systems and is less harmful to soil organisms and biology which I hope over time will help the build up of natural predators to slugs and other pests.
The presence of volunteers plants from the previous crop has many advantages. It has given the slugs something other than wheat to feed on reducing pressure, helped to dry and cultivate soil through it’s rooting and ultimately as it dies back will return valuable organic matter and nutrients to the soil. We plan to use mixed species cover crops to further improve the soils ahead of spring crops and “harvest” as much sunlight and water as possible, we are working towards a situation where we never have a bare field with the cover crops or volunteers filling in the gaps between our cash crops.