2 November 2001

BPCsays slug attack causing big crop losses

SLUGS are causing big losses for growers, particularly where they have failed to apply pellets to control the pests between haulm destruction and harvest, says one pellet supplier.

British Potato Council reports indicate high levels of wastage and distributor feedback suggests problems may have been caused by growers ignoring control measures after burn-off, says Luxan. Unlifted crops are now at particular risk.

"We are getting reports of damage from quality control intake, possibly because farmers have neglected slug control after desiccation," says Mark Ballingall, technical manager with CSC Cropcare. "Slugs are active well after burn-off and growers can experience problems right up to lifting."

He urges growers to rethink their slug control strategy for next year. "Cara and Maris Piper are favoured by slugs and susceptible to damage, so if farmers have grown or are planning to plant these varieties for next season they should be particularly careful and consider using pellets right up to lifting where thresholds are reached." &#42