A DISINTEREST in slug control could spell increasing losses from the pest, a pellet manufacturer has warned.

More than one-third of UK farmers believe slug problems have got worse in recent years, according to a nationwide survey, carried out by Lonza.

But just a handful have changed their approach, signalling a worrying disinterest bordering on apathy, noted marketing director Ernesto Plozza.

“It‘s clear that too few farmers are investing enough time in understanding the problem and adapting strategies,” he said.

The survey results suggest increased oilseed rape plantings, higher levels of seedbed trash and wetter autumns are to blame for much of the reported increase in slug prevalence.

Seven out of ten growers are making use of cultural methods of control such as crop rotation and firm seedbeds, and 68% are trapping to assess the need to treat.

But too few growers using all the elements of a comprehensive control strategy, said Mr Plozza.

A quarter of those questioned did not know at what rates they were using pellets, a fifth didn‘t know what active ingredient was being applied, and just 9% are using recommended application rates.

“It concerns me that at a time when we‘re trying to demonstrate best practice within the industry we could be leaving ourselves open to criticism,” said Peter Boyne of pellet manufacturer Luxan.