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Monitoring key for effective slug control

With slug pressure forecast to be reminiscent of 2012, monitoring populations in both edible and ornamental crops is key this season, urges Certis’ Technical Officer, Alan Horgan.

With slug pressure forecast to be reminiscent of 2012, monitoring populations in both edible and ornamental crops is key this season, urges Certis’ Technical Officer, Alan Horgan.

“It is important that growers anticipate slug populations and take a pro-active approach,” he notes. “Monitoring for slugs with the use of slug traps is key to ensuring that appropriate treatments are applied where necessary.”

He advises that growers speak to their advisor to ensure sufficient slug control stocks are secured, noting the current pressure on metaldehyde based slug pellets and the revocation of methiocarb. Sluxx and Ferramol Max (containing ferric phosphate) offer growers a much needed alternative to controlling the number one pest.

“It only takes very minimal damage to an ornamental plant or an edible crop for it to be downgraded, or potentially rejected. As a result, just a single slug trapped provides justification for treatment,” says Horgan.

He advises that growers with crops planted in rows employ slug pellets before the canopy meets across the row. “Apply a protective layer of control when it is at 50-75% cover to be sure that treatment continues until after canopy closure. It is also important that pellets are applied when foliage is dry, and that they are in direct contact with the soil.”

Providing the maximum application does not exceed 28kg/ha/crop limit, Sluxx can be applied as many times as is necessary, adds Horgan. “The label application rate is 7kg/ha, however if slug numbers are not excessive 5kg/ha will provide approximately 47 baiting points per metre square, which should be sufficient,” he suggests.  

Horgan adds that slug pressure is high and control is likely to be warranted in many situations. “Slugs breed prolifically so it’s not a problem that will go away very soon,” he concludes.