How to stop using insecticides?

DieselRob

Member
Location
North Yorkshire
How did you do it? Is it an instant cold turkey approach and hope for the best? Those of you who tell us you haven’t used insecticide for years, when you took on new land, did you treat it any different?

It’s a constant battle of wills with the agronomist here, he understands my strong desire to stop using them but it comes up every week about putting an insecticide on wheats.

Last year the OSR and beans were insecticide free and they’ll be the same this year. Barley variety this year is BYDV resistant/tolerant and most of the wheat was drilled mid Oct onwards so I’m happy with all that but there is some early Oct drilled wheat that is apparently a concern. It’s worth too much to accept crop failure so what would you do?
 

Hindsight

Member
Location
Lincolnshire
How did you do it? Is it an instant cold turkey approach and hope for the best? Those of you who tell us you haven’t used insecticide for years, when you took on new land, did you treat it any different?

It’s a constant battle of wills with the agronomist here, he understands my strong desire to stop using them but it comes up every week about putting an insecticide on wheats.

Last year the OSR and beans were insecticide free and they’ll be the same this year. Barley variety this year is BYDV resistant/tolerant and most of the wheat was drilled mid Oct onwards so I’m happy with all that but there is some early Oct drilled wheat that is apparently a concern. It’s worth too much to accept crop failure so what would you do?

You make up some flags and leave untreated strips for comparison - and learn from observation. That may sound daft but it is the way I suggest.

Yesterday I did exactly that on a contract managed farm where wheat is sown mid October. Not spraying any other farms but that particular one its actually the farmer wants to treat (not the agronomist) as he has seen several neighbours out spraying and other agronomists advising. So I put up marker flags in a few fields with 100 metres by tramline width and asked that these are not treated and then gave him my cap (metaphorical cap I hasten to add!) and said I would eat it next May if BYDV shows up in the untreated areas.
 

robs1

Member
We've not used any since 2010 apart from deter up to 4 years ago, we haven't had any issues so far ( touch wood, cross fingers and chuck salt over my shoulder) we dd so hopefully that helps the beneficials, this year we drilled a couple of weeks earlier than the normal mid October so will see if that makes a difference.
Only time will tell if we have just been lucky or if what we have been doing will work long term.
We have a six acre field that had a one year grass break this year, it was moving with crane flies so expect it to very poor
 
not an arable farmer, so no experience, however, just been reading Nicole Masters's book and what I could take from it, is, first get the soil biology really working, this then gives plants that have a higher Brix and are stronger, then you don't have problems with insects.
 

DieselRob

Member
Location
North Yorkshire
The early drilled wheats are after OSR and beans so they’ve had nearly 2 years since an insecticide applied (last applied on barley drilled 2019) so that’s 2 years building beneficials so apply anything now would be such a backwards step.

@Ffermer Bach i agree with this about improving soil health but I feel it’s all got to come together, killing insects doesn’t help with the overall biology. I’m trying to improve both together but is that wanting to have my cake and eat it too?
 

Bogweevil

Member
How did you do it? Is it an instant cold turkey approach and hope for the best? Those of you who tell us you haven’t used insecticide for years, when you took on new land, did you treat it any different?

It’s a constant battle of wills with the agronomist here, he understands my strong desire to stop using them but it comes up every week about putting an insecticide on wheats.

Last year the OSR and beans were insecticide free and they’ll be the same this year. Barley variety this year is BYDV resistant/tolerant and most of the wheat was drilled mid Oct onwards so I’m happy with all that but there is some early Oct drilled wheat that is apparently a concern. It’s worth too much to accept crop failure so what would you do?

On-going AHDB research suggests that a good way of deciding on insecticide or not is in-field monitoring (as opposed to published aphid monitoring station data): https://projectblue.blob.core.windo...20/21120077a Annual Project Report (2020).pdf

Impressed no insecticide for black bean aphid - couldn't do that here.
 

WillB

Member
Location
Shropshire
It would be interesting to see what happens if all of your neighbours, and your neighbours neighbours, stopped using them. I suspect that those that are not using them now would see more BYDV. We cannot say that we do not use them but it is always with extreme reluctance and only on autumn aphids in early drilled cereals and then only the middles of the fields. Perhaps I should be braver?

I am hoping that the plant breeders can build on Wolverine to provide BYDV tolerance in the next few years. We did grow it for 2021 harvest but it wont pay the bills unfortunately.
 
i have not used insceticide on wheat for 30 years

you are further north

when i last sprayed wheat looked hard for aphids
left a field unsprayed and had no bydv


when bydv came to be a problem around here we drilled barley in early september and wheat by mid september it was emerged well in september and we had some bydv early 1980s

the trials work done then showed that early emerged crops were at risk

but later EMERGED crops (october or later ) DID NOT NEED SPRAYING till the spring and then only if he weather had not controlled the problem

as most crops are now later emerged the risk is very low to non existent in the northern half of the country and any where crops are planted mid october and get weather that controlls aphids

the other risk is from aphids walking from one crop to the next
but aphids on rape or broardleaved cover are not bydv carrying wrong species

the risk is second wheats drilled on the green

identify the aphid and save a spray

at the least look for aphids on a warm sunny day if they are there they are easy to find
 
It would be interesting to see what happens if all of your neighbours, and your neighbours neighbours, stopped using them. I suspect that those that are not using them now would see more BYDV. We cannot say that we do not use them but it is always with extreme reluctance and only on autumn aphids in early drilled cereals and then only the middles of the fields. Perhaps I should be braver?

I am hoping that the plant breeders can build on Wolverine to provide BYDV tolerance in the next few years. We did grow it for 2021 harvest but it wont pay the bills unfortunately.
there are a lot of acres of cover crops and cereal vollunteers well established in september that could atract the aphids
once they are there they could find the oat covers and grass a better habitat

bydv was a problem from pre 20 september septeber emerged crops in the 1970s and 1980s
mow with majority late october emergance the problem is massively reduced in the cooler areas
east midlands and north especially
one weeks cold does the aphids that arrive in crops from mid october onwards
 

Brisel

Member
NFFN Member
Location
North Yorkshire
If you don't think you need it, don't do it. It was a different game for us around here where everything was behind grass or surrounded by it.

The trade really should have developed BYDV tolerant wheat by now.
Wolverine is BYDV resistant. It also has a poor disease profile and yields less than most of the RL list.
 

CORK

Member
Requirement for autumn insecticide will vary with location & drilling date. We are on the south coast with plenty of grass around. We sow in mid October and will use an aphicide. I have absolutely no qualms about using one either.

We have plenty of beetles running around (I see them when monitoring slug numbers). We also have plenty of earthworms despite ploughing almost every year.

I know it’s not a popular thing to say but I do think the perceived negatives of such “traditional methods” are overplayed.
 

Secret Agronomist

Member
Arable Farmer
Its a case of the farmers foot is the best fertiliser. Seen odd aphids so have done some of the earliest emerged fields of rye which were getting Mn anyway. We sow quite late (for our area) so not a lot is through before mid October. Still very mild here yet so still time for more flights, but do they always have BYDV?
 
the first 170 day degrees after the land take well into winter
then wait a bit to see if there any ofspring

here I am happy that the risk is negligible from October emerged onwards not seen any bydv in the last 30 years
the further south and west the higher the risk but November emerged is still low risk and aphids develop and multiply very slowly at lower temperatures
 

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