INCREASED SLUG numbers are likely this autumn, following the warm, wet August, growers have been warned.

The prediction came from a new research project, to be unveiled at Tillage 2004  on Tuesday (September 14).

“Slug numbers are now looking much higher than in previous years, even if we get average weather from now on,” said David Bohan, leading the Rothamsted Research team involved with the project.

“If we experience some more wet weather, then the trend will be even more steeply upwards.”

The project, funded by De Sangosse and the Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council, uses a new model that predicts likely slug populations based on field counts in various regions plotted against weather patterns.

Visitors to the Tillage events  (Sept 14, Twycross, Leics; Oct 5, Earlston, Berwickshire) can also see a demonstration of how to ensure even distribution of broadcast slug pellets.

“Following recent dry conditions it‘s very easy to lose your guard against slugs,” added Eric Gussin of DeSangosse.

“But after the last couple of days of wet weather, they‘ll be back with a vengeance and the threat to crops could be devastating.”

He urges growers to use a quality meta-metaldehyde pellet that won‘t break down when put through a broadcast applicator.