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Slug control solution for arable crops

As available slug control options narrow and with slug pressure forecast to be reminiscent of 2012, it is vital to plan control programmes in anticipation of the season ahead.

As available slug control options narrow and with slug pressure forecast to be reminiscent of 2012, it is vital to plan control programmes in anticipation of the season ahead.

Confidence in relative newcomer pellet Sluxx or Derrex based on ferric phosphate is growing, as Essex-based Farm Manager testifies.

In light of the restrictions placed on metaldehyde and with the impending loss of methiocarb, ferric phosphate is being presented as a very real alternative for growers. “It delivers a desperately needed industry solution where pellet efficacy and strong environmental credentials are central to sustaining the pellet armoury,” notes Certis’ Technical Officer, Nigel Riches.

“There are zero buffer zones when applying either Sluxx or Derrex (ferric phosphate) making it an attractive choice,” he notes.

James Green, Farm Manager at Roding Valley Farming Ltd, has been using ferric phosphate as a tool in their slug control armoury for the past two years.

“We switched to ferric phosphate to gain complete control of the slugs during the high pressure season in 2012. We now routinely use Sluxx on the headlands, on our winter wheat and oilseed rape crops, whilst continuing to employ metaldehyde as part of a programmed approach.”  

James adds that for them, it is vital to remain in line with the Metaldehyde Stewardship Group (MSG) guidelines, “Ferric phosphate has a strong environmental profile which enables us to get the coverage without leading to detections in watercourses.”

In 2012, James conducted a non-scientific field trial to compare ferric phosphate and metaldehyde. “We compared four metaldehyde applications to two metaldehyde and two Sluxx, and found that slug grazing stopped across both sides of the field; control was comparable and effective.

“We’ve been very pleased with the results in general. Sluxx also spreads well and the pellets last longer in wet conditions, controlling slugs equally as well as metaldehyde,” he concludes.