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Farmers drilling crops early to avoid a repeat of last autumn’s wet conditions could face an increased risk of Barley Yellow Dwarf Virus (BYDV).... Caution urged when drilling early in autumn

Farmers drilling crops early to avoid a repeat of last autumn’s wet conditions could face an increased risk of Barley Yellow Dwarf Virus (BYDV).

Warmer conditions could exacerbate the risk of the virus being spread by bird cherry-oat aphids, which migrate from early September to late October, says Bill Lankford, herbicide and pesticide specialist at Adama.

Pest management

“Growers who remain determined to drill winter wheat and winter barley in September must be prepared to take steps to hinder the establishment of aphids and thereby minimise the area of BYDV infection.”

Green bridge destruction and retaining  attractive habitats for beneficial insects are also important for integrated pest management (IPM). Late drilling is among the most effective IPM techniques.

Dr Lankford says: “Where crops have been drilled early, the application of an insecticide which is not only less detrimental to populations of beneficial insects, but which will also remain effective in warm early autumn weather will be required.”

Where cereal colonising aphids are active and justify insecticide application, Dr Lankford suggests a pesticide with a lower residual impact on natural aphid predators – including ground and rove beetles.

Fast action

“Where a pyrethroid insecticide is deemed to be the most appropriate mode of action, Mavrik (240 g/litre tau-fluvalinate) provides fast-acting contact control with a lower residual impact on beneficial insects compared to other pyrethroids.

“This reduced toxicity enables beneficial organisms to recover more quickly after crops have been sprayed, therefore ensuring there’s a strong population of predators ready and able to overcome any subsequent influxes of aphids.”

More effective

Trials carried out in Germany suggest Mavrik is more effective versus grain aphids than lambda cyhalothrin CS at temperatures of 15°C and above, says Dr Lankford. This means faster knockdown and mortality, he explains.

“This improved activity at higher temperatures is the result of the spatial shape and chemical composition of tau-fluvalinate – a Type I pyrethroid – which makes it more stable and therefore more effective at higher.

“This inherent stability also makes tau-fluvalinate less susceptible to metabolic resistance within target organisms, further adding to its efficacy and long-term sustainability.”

Pea week celebrates ninth anniversary

Great British Pea Week – the annual celebration which encourages people to eat more peas – celebrates its ninth anniversary this month.

With 160,000 tonnes of vining peas grown and harvested by about 700 growers and contractors, Great British Pea Week (1-7 July) celebrates the vegetable and those who work around the clock each summer to deliver frozen peas to the nation.

The UK is 90% self-sufficient in pea production, with the average British adult  eating around 9,000 peas a year, says the British Growers Association, the organisation behind the Yes Peas! campaign.

Great Britain remains the largest producer and consumer of frozen peas in Europe, to maintain the country’s track record of being 90% self-sufficient in pea production, with most peas frozen within 150 minutes of leaving the field.

Holly Jones, of the Yes Peas! campaign, told Anglia Farmer: “Nearly all peas in supermarket freezers are grown on a British farm by a British farmer. We want to encourage the nation to not make peas a side dish, but the main event in any meal.”