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Rural Diary
1 August 2018 External Supplier

Protect your spring sown crops

Metarex Inov all-weather slug and snail bait has proven itself to be a critical part of an overall slug management programme to protect a wide range of spring sown crops. 

Slug populations can devastate spring sown crops. Maize and brassica seedlings in particular are extremely vulnerable in their early growth stages. New Zealand trials have consistently shown Metarex to outperform clay coated bait alternatives. 

Metarex is known for its ‘attract and kill’ mode of action, which provides farmers a highly effective bait with excellent longevity characteristics under wet conditions that doesn’t see the bait fall apart in the first shower of rain. It contains the proven active ingredient metaldehyde, in a homogenous blend throughout the bait, which causes irreversible damage to the mucus cells of slugs and snail. The secret to performance is in the unique wet manufacturing process, which results in a durum wheat based bait that is rainfast and highly palatable to slugs and snails. This gives both the ‘attract and kill’ feature as well as its direct contact action. 

Metarex is also Integrated Pest Management (IPM) friendly. The safety to beneficial insects and earthworms allows beneficial insects such as carabid beetles to lend a helping hand for a sustainable integrated pest control programme. The low use rates also provide advantages around storage and ease of handling and application.

Excellent bait ballistics, uniform spreading, high number of bait points and the no dust, no hassle spreading features makes for an effective and user friendly option to combat slug or snail problems.

Contact your local PGG Wrightson Technical Field Representative to find out more.

Supplied byUPL

External Supplier

Related Articles

Selecting the right hybrid is critical

01 August 2018

When preparing to plant maize, ensuring you have selected the right hybrid is crucial. There are a number of factors to consider when selecting a hybrid best suited to your growing region and specifically for your farm. 

The first question you need to ask is ‘when can I plant and when can I harvest my crop?’ This helps establish the range of hybrids that will fit within your growing time frame. The next step is to understand the challenges your growing environment has; do you expect to have significant wind during the growing season, particularly nearing harvest time? Is the local area subject to any diseases such as rust or Northern Leaf Blight (NLB), and do you have any specific fertility or drainage challenges that need to be addressed prior to planting? These questions help narrow down the hybrid that is best suited to your unique growing environment.

From time to time the weather doesn’t help our planning and delays are caused at planting through wet soils. If you have chosen your hybrid and this happens, you may need to consult with your agronomy team to choose another hybrid that fits the shorter growing time that has occurred. Corson Maize has a range of hybrids that can meet your requirements if this situation arises. 
The Corson Maize and PGG Wrightson agronomy teams work together to assist maize growers in choosing the right hybrid for their farm. A recent example of this was on Waipuna Station, where Corson Maize Sales Agronomist, Mike Turner worked alongside PGG Wrightson Technical Field Representative, Mark Arrandale and PGG Wrightson Grain Area Manager, Russell Hayes in supporting Farm Manager, John Kaati in his maize decisions.

John grows maize for grain as he has found this to be a profitable option for Waipuna Station. Waipuna station is located 50 km west of Otorohanga, close to Kawhia on the west coast of the North Island. Across the 800 ha of land, John grew 54 ha of maize this season planting the hybrids Afinity and N51-N4. Both hybrids are ‘dual-purpose’ which means they can be used for maize silage or maize grain end uses. The hybrids were treated with Poncho® Votivo, to ensure the young maize plants were protected from a range of insects and Avipel® to protect the seedlings from bird attack.
Both hybrids, Afinity and N51-N4, were well suited to the growing environment at Waipuna Station. Their length of maturity was the perfect fit for the growing season available. Other challenges included the coastal winds which meant that a hybrid with excellent plant stalk and root strength had to be chosen. This was improved by ensuring the right populations were planted (92,000 seeds per ha). Too high a population and the plants would become tall and thin and not able to stand in the winds they would be exposed too, which could affect their harvest ability. Both hybrids also have very good tolerance to NLB, which is a known challenge in this region and a very important factor in the hybrids selected. 

John was impressed with the average yield from his maize of 14.1 T DM per ha. “Putting the right hybrid in the right paddock is critical and this paid off with both Afinity and N51-N4 performing very well,” says John. He was also very happy with the joint support provided saying “I was provided with excellent support from Corson Maize and PGG Wrightson when it came to maize agronomy decisions, which led to the correct hybrid selection.”

Selecting the right hybrids does not have to be complicated and the PGG Wrightson Technical Field Representatives and Corson Maize Sales Agronomists are on hand to assist you with maize agronomy decisions.  

Corson Maize now offers a wider range of hybrids having incorporated the Pacific Seeds range into their portfolio to provide an even better choice of hybrids when making selections. 

Contact your local PGG Wrightson Technical Field Representative to find out more about Corson Maize Seed hybrids and gain help with hybrid selection for this coming maize season.

Supplied by Corson Maize Seed

Getting it right from day one

28 August 2018

You only get one chance to get a crop in the ground at the right time, and that is the first day you do it.

If you have to come back and re-sow, you have lost weeks of productivity and yield. Planning is critical for success. Crop type and time of planting are key, but ask yourself, why do you want to grow a brassica?

In most cases, a brassica crop serves two purposes:

  1. To fill a feed deficit that is left by existing pasture at a particular time of year.
  2. To use as a tool to take out and renew old pasture after the brassica crop has finished.

A brassica crop not only delivers quality feed for livestock, but also allows us to break a pasture rotation by using the opportunity to tidy up perennial weeds that do not need clover safe chemicals.

So a few questions need to be asked:

  • Are the paddocks earmarked for the crop suitable?
  • How did they come through the winter?
  • Are any last minute adjustments needed?

Once you have confirmed the paddock location and have taken a soil test, the next step is to decide what type of brassica you are going to grow: leafy turnip, bulb turnip, rape, raphanobrassica, kale or swede. Then work backwards from the planned grazing date using the number of days that it takes from planting to grazing as per the suppliers’ recommendation.

When you receive your soil test results, if your pH is out, come up with a fertiliser plan and apply lime at the earliest opportunity. Remember, lime can take around six months to correct pH. If possible, plan your spray-out date four weeks before your planting date. This allows plenty of time for old vegetation to die back especially in no-till situations.

There will be less unwanted plants to deal with and it will be easier to create a nice clean seed bed if you plan to cultivate. Whilst it is always tempting to try to get the last graze out of the previous pasture, this can be false economy as you need around 10 cm of actively growing plant leaf to take up the glyphosate effectively. Grazing to the dirt before you spray leads to disappointing results.

Cultivate a firm, flat and fine seedbed to drill into. Remember that brassica seeds are small and do not have much energy inside them. They should be sown with enough good seed soil contact, which supports rapid and even seedling emergence to optimise establishment and achieve canopy closure. Most small seeds should be sown between 10 to 15 mm depth, and always use a slug-bait at sowing in no-till situations.

Spray an appropriate post-plant pre-emergence herbicide, especially if you have difficult weeds or you are sowing a long-term crop such as rape, raphanobrassica, kale or swede. This takes away any seedling competition with weeds emerging at the same time as the crop. Monitor regularly for further weeds and pests and deal with accordingly.

For advice around sowing brassica this spring, contact your local PGG Wrightson Technical Field Representative.

Get the paddock right

28 August 2018

Time spent now selecting and preparing your brassica crop paddock may pay off later.

Paddock history, location and soil fertility are just three of the considerations that should be kept in mind when deciding where to grow your next brassica crop.

“Be mindful of paddock history with brassicas,” says Murray Lane, Forage Specialist for Ballance Agri-Nutrients. “If previous crops have been infested with wild turnip, it is not recommended to plant swede, turnips or kale into the same paddock. If you have had dry rot or club root don’t plant brassicas, even varieties tolerant to these problems, in that spot for five years following.”

Consider access and suitability for machinery and stock. “Choose a paddock that is less prone to pugging or compaction, and one where you can easily provide grazing stock with drinking water while keeping them away from natural waterways and drainage channels,” advises Murray.

In relation to paddock rotation, think about whether you have pasture that could benefit from a break to address weed and pest issues, contouring, or other performance problems.

“Above all, select your paddocks early,” says Murray. “This gives you time to prepare them properly, which pays off with a better crop. Spray-out weeds this autumn, put in a winter ryegrass, graze that, then spray again before sowing in spring. This will minimise the amount of weeds in the crop.”

Early paddock selection also gives you time to adjust pH and fertility. “Brassicas like a pH between 5.8 and 6.2. Lime applications need up to a year to take full effect so the sooner you select your paddock, test pH and if necessary apply lime, the better.”

Test soil nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, sulphur, magnesium and boron six months before sowing to inform your fertiliser strategy. “Brassicas can be expensive to grow. Hitting that sweet spot where you get the best yield gains from your inputs, in other words an economically optimal yield, is the aim. Also consider the value of the feed as this influences the size of the gap between the economic and maximum yields,” explains Murray.

Looking further ahead, regardless of base fertiliser needs, the value of placing a starter fertiliser at sowing cannot be underestimated. Cropzeal Boron Boost is a good option for brassicas providing phosphate close to the germinating seed to support early root development, and boron to guard against common problems such as brown heart.

To assist you in planning your next brassica crop, talk to your Ballance Nutrient Specialist or your local PGG Wrightson Technical Field Representative.

Article supplied by Ballance Agri-Nutrients

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