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Seasonal slug pressure warning – crops at greater risk

Slug populations are predicted to explode this year as a result of the mild, wet winter and lack of ground frosts. These conditions have provided ideal breeding conditions for slugs which could pose a real challenge for potato growers.

Crops face a greater risk of slug damage and if left untreated, this can become extremely expensive for farmers, and is estimated to cost the potato industry up to £53 million per year*, as any slug damage reduces saleability and ultimately profitability of a crop.

Slugs are most damaging to potatoes during the early stages of tuber bulking, which is starting to happen now. So make sure you have your control plan in place to protect crops from day one.

Potato growers should apply slug pellets regularly and especially before the canopy meets between the row. Apply a protective treatment of slug pellets when there is between 50 -75% canopy cover to help maintain protection until after canopy closure.

The maximum application rate of Sluxx HP is 7kg/ha, however, using at least 5kg/ha is recommended, unless the slug problem is severe, then the maximum rate should be applied. It is also important that pellets are applied when foliage is dry and they are in direct contact with the soil.

Traps are useful tools and monitoring of slug levels will support a proactive approach to slug control allowing growers to make appropriate applications when necessary based on risk.

In potatoes the threshold for treatment is zero i.e. if at least one slug is trapped consider applying slug pellets to help reduce crop damage and loss.

*AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds