Staying in control and one step ahead of resistance to crop sprays
Integrated crop management is needed to stay one step ahead of resistance to crop sprays and pesticides
Resistance to crop protection products and reduced availability of sprays due to changes in legislation are impacting on weed control, it has been warned.
The head of the Teagasc Crops Research Programme, John Spink, said high yields and effective control of weeds, pests and diseases were critical to aid profitable tillage production.
A key message from the Teagasc Oakpark Tillage open day was the use of an integrated approach to pest management, from sowing dates to spraying to help save costs and reduce resistance.
Wicklow adviser Martin Bourke says that many farmers may have sprayed unnecessarily for aphids this year, as they did not examine crops.
"We have to change our mindset and be more aware of integrated pest management," he says. There are a lot of natural enemies around at the moment that would help kill off aphids such as hoverflies and ladybirds.
"We need to be wary that we could be upsetting the balance."
Pyrethroid comes in at around €4/ha, while the seed treatment costs around €450/tonne, which adds around €25/ha onto winter barley costs.
"The seed treatment is probably the safer way to go as it is going into the soil, whereas the sprays are being sprayed above ground and it is more likely they could be damaging natural predators.