Potato growers need to monitor crops now for slugs following high levels of activity at a number of sites across the country, Bayer CropScience has advised.

Results from the firm’s 31 Slugwatch UK monitoring sites found that 12 locations recorded high levels of activity (30+ slugs per square metre) last month, with the highest of 305 at Cock Bevington in Warwickshire.

“The first critical application of pellets to potato crops needs to be made before canopy closure for best effect, so potato growers need to be checking individual field risk now with surface trapping,” said Bayer’s Richard Meredith.

Nationally, results varied significantly, with seven sites showing minimal soil populations and six with moderate activity (10-30 slugs per square metre), but he believes the high proportion of juveniles (50%) means there is potential for populations to increase.

“Finding just one slug per monitoring trap is enough to justify treatment due to the high value of the crop and the low tolerance of slug damage to tubers.”

For more on Slugwatch UK, see www.bayercropscience.co.uk