CEREAL GROWERS wishing to avoid disappointing performance with their slug pellets should look out for those with the Meta quality mark, according to manufacturers.

Inferior quality pellets are less able to withstand moisture, are dustier, which poses a health and safety hazard, and growers have problems getting an even spread pattern, they claim.

Some manufacturers, such as CDP, De Sangosse and Luxan, are now using the Meta quality mark and claim their pellets are less affected by these problems.

“Behind the simple façade of the pellet lies some complex technology,” said product manager of meta-metaldehyde manufacturer Lonza, Ernesto Plozza.

“We blend our active ingredient with the best bait to create an efficient pesticide that is also environmentally sound.”

Introduced across Europe three years ago, use of the quality mark has taken off in the UK over the past year and 90% of the pellets used here now carry it.

It shows the pellet contains longer-lasting material, such as pasta, as the bait, while ingredients have been added to improve palatability and keep the pellet whole during spreading.

Dry/steam-processing of pellets also helps them last longer and ensure they are uniform in size, to improve distribution on the ground, said Mr Plozza.

“Meta-metaldehyde acts only on slugs and snails and doesn‘t harm earthworms or beneficial ground beetles,” he added.