Flea Beetle 2019

I’m not sure about this “leave your rape stubbles and let the volunteer rape attract the CSFB” malarkey.
They were certainly there.
....I say were, because I’ve ploughed all mine up now and squashed the little feckers.

I do believe there may be some merit in the low disturbance Zero till method that @cotswold farmer 1977 uses to establish his rape in discouraging the CSFB.

However, having tried and failed to establish rape properly with a Min till approach, I have gone back to a system that always worked for me, being ploughing and combi drilling in in close rows. I find that a good dose of muck before ploughing acts like rocket fuel to the rape, such that it outgrows the CSFB

The only fields that were effected by CSFB this harvest for me, were the 2 that didn’t get any muck.
 
Last edited:

Brisel

Member
Location
Dorset
Companion crop buckwheat at 6kg/ha just emerging now, thought the idea was that the companion crop came up first!
When did you sow the buckwheat? Looks tidy (y)

I’m not sure about this “leave your rape stubbles and let the volunteer rape attract the CSFB” malarkey.
They were certainly there.
....I say were, because I’ve ploughed all mine up now and squashed the little feckers.

I do believe there may be some merit in the low disturbance Zero till method that @cotswold farmer 1977 uses to establish his rape in discouraging the CSFB.

However, having tried and failed to establish rape properly with a Min till approach, I have gone back to a system that always worked for me, being ploughing and combi drilling in in close rows. I find that a good dose of muck before ploughing acts like rocket fuel to the rape, such that it outgrows the CSFB

The only fields that were effected by CSFB this harvest for me, were the 2 that didn’t get any muck.

The discussion amongst those who know more about CSFB than I do is as follows;
  • Muck is good. It provides nutrition, holds moisture and the smell may mask the smell of glucosinolates that brassicas emit - that cabbage smell that attracts flea beetle.
  • If a field of osr volunteers smells better than a freshly sown one, they could stay there (remember where they originated from). Once they have settled on a field and fed for a few days, their wing muscles atrophy and the only way around is to hop. Not good for a new crop next to an osr stubble. If a swarm or flight of beetles has 10 fields to choose from, 5 new and 5 old stubbles, you halve your odds of damage in new crops.
  • The flea beetles can be fooled by camouflage - stubble, straw, cover crops, companion crops.
  • The best way to mitigate damage by grazing is to get the crop away quickly with plant food and retain moisture. Placed fertiliser and/or manure is best.
  • CSFB has a resting period around now where they have a short, almost hibernation period after which they will be on the move again. My stubbles and turnips have no fresh grazing either.
  • They will hide behind clods, so a fine firm seedbed is best practice and will also ensure a good environment for crop growth.
This is not an exhaustive list.

@Zippy768 ploughed before his osr crop and had little trouble, so perhaps the ploughmen had a better growing medium, more seedbed moisture etc?
 
I planted the buckwheat at the same time as the osr, I have two hoppers one for seed and a fert hopper which I used for the companion crop, double rolled and applied 30kg N, we have caught alot of rain here 30mm in the last week so fingers crossed
 

Zippy768

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Dorset/Wilts
When did you sow the buckwheat? Looks tidy (y)




The discussion amongst those who know more about CSFB than I do is as follows;
  • Muck is good. It provides nutrition, holds moisture and the smell may mask the smell of glucosinolates that brassicas emit - that cabbage smell that attracts flea beetle.
  • If a field of osr volunteers smells better than a freshly sown one, they could stay there (remember where they originated from). Once they have settled on a field and fed for a few days, their wing muscles atrophy and the only way around is to hop. Not good for a new crop next to an osr stubble. If a swarm or flight of beetles has 10 fields to choose from, 5 new and 5 old stubbles, you halve your odds of damage in new crops.
  • The flea beetles can be fooled by camouflage - stubble, straw, cover crops, companion crops.
  • The best way to mitigate damage by grazing is to get the crop away quickly with plant food and retain moisture. Placed fertiliser and/or manure is best.
  • CSFB has a resting period around now where they have a short, almost hibernation period after which they will be on the move again. My stubbles and turnips have no fresh grazing either.
  • They will hide behind clods, so a fine firm seedbed is best practice and will also ensure a good environment for crop growth.
This is not an exhaustive list.

@Zippy768 ploughed before his osr crop and had little trouble, so perhaps the ploughmen had a better growing medium, more seedbed moisture etc?
Yep we did, and am just finishing the ploughing for this years.
Tbh the desire to plough was pushed by the fact that - like @Two Tone - our ploughed yields quite frankly pi55 on other methods of establishment we have tried. Also by ploughing, I can drill with ours instead of getting a contractor.

I think having a clod and trash free seed bed leaves the little sods with fewer places to hide. Not something my agronomist really believes in tho. He thinks, trash free or not, osr emerging in the next 10 days or so will be under threat.

I think we may also benefit from fewer osr growers in the immediate locality. Stubble fields are alot closer to destined osr land this year so we will see :nailbiting:

Wont be drilling til the end of the month. Just in time for this long awaited heatwave to take all the moisture out of my ploughing :banghead:
 

Renaultman

Member
Location
Darlington
I’m not sure about this “leave your rape stubbles and let the volunteer rape attract the CSFB” malarkey.
They were certainly there.
....I say were, because I’ve ploughed all mine up now and squashed the little feckers.

I do believe there may be some merit in the low disturbance Zero till method that @cotswold farmer 1977 uses to establish his rape in discouraging the CSFB.

However, having tried and failed to establish rape properly with a Min till approach, I have gone back to a system that always worked for me, being ploughing and combi drilling in in close rows. I find that a good dose of muck before ploughing acts like rocket fuel to the rape, such that it outgrows the CSFB

The only fields that were effected by CSFB this harvest for me, were the 2 that didn’t get any muck.
I also think (hope) that flea beetle don't like muck. I spread muck and gypsum (hoping slugs don't like this) then incorporate just before drilling with Vaddy. It's just through now so the watch begins
 

Clive

Staff Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Lichfield
I also think (hope) that flea beetle don't like muck. I spread muck and gypsum (hoping slugs don't like this) then incorporate just before drilling with Vaddy. It's just through now so the watch begins

Like slugs I think seedbed sulphur is the key - this would fit with why some say muck / biosolids are good as well
 

B'o'B

Member
Location
Rutland
Looks like they’re back from their 2 week holiday. Seen quite a few hopping about on the combine when harvesting peas over the last 2 days. Not had chance to check volunteers for shot holes.
 

Clive

Staff Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Lichfield
I saw on Twitter that @Feldspar was concerned for a 150ac block later planted ? Trouble then becomes fighting slugs and pigeons all winter !

I’m not sure if I should plant osr this week or wait until mid September to try miss this flush ?

Seems the rain / wetter conditions is what really stops them more than anything ?
 

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