Follow best practice for effective slug control this autumn
Seemingly non-stop rain between April and July has resulted in slug populations reaching levels not seen for many years, but while the challenge of protecting young crops against these potentially devastating pests is considerable it can be achieved if growers follow some basic steps.
“The main point to remember is that effective control is best achieved when pellets are applied at the right time to good, well consolidated seedbeds. Talk of baiting points is largely a distraction and is fundamentally irrelevant as active ingredient applied per hectare is the limiting factor growers should be focussed on,” says Simon McMunn of manufacturer De Sangosse.
The catchy weather since harvest begun has also maintained the wet seedbed conditions favoured by molluscs. The threat to crops remains high, but control can be achieved if growers plan properly.
“The wet conditions and cooler temperatures have created perfect conditions for slugs. They will be able to move freely through cloddy soils, while potential slow crop growth may leave plants vulnerable for longer. This means growers will need to adopt an integrated approach to control utilising cultivation and consolidation techniques alongside careful pellet selection and application,” adds Simon McMunn.
Pellet choice is a subject he feels is largely overlooked, but it can be the difference between achieving effective control first time and fighting a rear-guard action.
“Pasta-based pellets such as TDS can last for over two weeks while the old fashioned mini pellets may only last two to three days before breaking down. If using minis in wet conditions any cost savings are quickly eroded by subsequent applications. Doing it properly first time saves time and money,” he says.
The MSG stipulates that no more than 210g of active ingredient can be applied between 31st August and 31st December to protect watercourses meaning growers need to be realise there are only a few opportunities to treat effectively.
“One well-timed application of TDS at 5kg/ha will deliver 200g a.i./ha from a pellet that the integrity to last up to three weeks in challenging conditions ensuring the crop remains protected during those susceptible early days,” he adds.
De Sangosse five top tips for effective slug control
- Clear stubbles of volunteers where possible with a suitable herbicide
- Start with a good, well consolidated seedbed
- Apply to the soil surface after rolling
- Use a quality pasta-based pellet such as TDS for up to three weeks protection
- Ensure accurate and consistent application techniques