Wet weather heralds increase in slug pressure

Wet weather has encouraged slugs to the surface in search of food prompting growers to plan strategies for control.

“The same rain that has slowed harvest progress will be encouraging slugs to the surface in search of food," says David Glen of Styloma Research. 

"Should it continue, populations will increase and with many growers yet to finish drilling their oilseed rape the threat to crops is steadily intensifying.” 

“Growers will need to ensure crops are protected from the outset while conditions will necessitate the use of a quality pellet,” Dr Glen adds.

Recently published rainfall data from the Met Office reveal an unseasonably wet August with England receiving 97mm compared with a 15-year average of 84mm.

“Recent weather clearly favours slugs and while growers may not have seen much evidence of them, rest assured they will be there in good numbers,” Dr Glen says.

When it comes to pellet choice Dr Glen points out that not all pellets perform to the same standard so there are several factors to weigh before purchasing.

“There are a number of myths surrounding slug control that need banishing if growers are to achieve the control they desire. Research indicates that wet-process pellets made using durum wheat flour, such as TDS, deliver the best across-the-board performance.”

While metaldehyde remains the most popular choice among growers, there are circumstances when an alternative active ingredient, such as ferric phosphate, may be a preferable means of control.

Until this season, growers had only one supplier of ferric phosphate pellets to buy from, but De Sangosse has recently received approval for a pellet of its own called Ironmax Pro, giving users a choice of two manufacturers.

“Ironmax Pro has been several years in development and we have gone to great lengths to ensure it matches the performance offered by our leading metaldehyde pellets,” says De Sangosse commercial manager Simon McMunn.

“It completes the toolbox of slug control options from De Sangosse and means those growers seeking a high-quality alternative to metaldehyde have a proven option from a renowned manufacturer,” he adds.

The new 3% ferric phosphate pellet is for the UK market and Mr McMunn was keen to point out that De Sangosse will continue to produce pellets containing metaldehyde.

“We remain committed to products containing metaldehyde in the first instance. This has been the focus of our work in supporting new approvals in the European Union on metaldehyde over the past 10 years. We have invested significant sums in supporting metaldehyde and, to date, are the only pellet manufacturer with new Annex III approvals (in two zones).”