RISING SLUG populations following relatively mild and wet weather mean growers must remain vigilant against crop attack, experts have warned.

Crops sown late into poor seedbeds are at greatest risk from slug damage, said Steve Wolff, crop protection director for Banks Cargill.

“This continual damp weather means some crops have been established in very ropey conditions, particularly on heavy soils.

“We‘re seeing a lot of slug grazing in newly-emerged crops, especially following oilseed rape.”

Slow developing crops are also at risk, he said, pointing to patchy oilseed rape crops as an example.

A follow up application of slug pellets may be necessary where slugs are very active, he said.

“We haven‘t had any cold snaps yet that would slow slug activity down, but we have had an exceptionally wet autumn,” added Luxan technical manager Peter Boyne.

Mr Wolff said growers should focus on durability and palatability when choosing slug pellets. He recommended Meta-metaldehyde products such as Luxan‘s Deal.