PREDICTED HIGH slug populations look set to become reality this season, according to latest testing.

Slug numbers have reached up to 150 per square metre in recent soil samples conducted by Bayer CropScience.

“Currently the threat lies beneath the surface, in the form of high populations of juveniles from recent hatchings,” warned Bayer‘s Richard Meredith.

“There is potential for these slugs to emerge in large numbers from the second half of October when conditions usually turn wetter and wintry.”

Indeed most of the country is likely to experience higher slug numbers this year, given the damp weather conditions, particularly in August, said Jenna Willis from Rothamsted.

Slug population model predictions show higher than average numbers across the UK, but with a degree of regional variation, she added.

Growers should pay close attention to pellet and active ingredient activity, due to the higher risk of degradation in wet weather, suggested Mr Meredith.

He recommends using methiocarb pellets, which he claims can still work three to four weeks after application.