Early action to combat slug threat

JUST ONE slug can kill up to 50 wheat seeds in the first week after sowing, so growers must assess the likely risk before cultivations begin, the Home Grown Cereals Authority has advised.

Its latest topic sheet guidance offers growers of cereals and oilseed rape advice on assessing slug risk and will help decide if and when to apply slug pellets, said HGCA director of research, Graham Jellis.

“Growers are encouraged to put slug traps out before cultivation, when the soil surface is visibly moist and the weather mild.”

Traps should be left overnight and examined the following morning. Four or more slugs per trap indicates a possible risk, he said.

In oilseed rape crops, the biggest slug threat is from surface feeding slugs, which can cause serious damage up to the 4-true leaf stage.

Growers should assess slug activity just before, or after cereal harvest and then follow the decision tree guidance to decide whether slug pellets are required on individual farms, he said.

Copies of the topic sheets for integrated slug control in winter wheat and winter oilseed rape are available from www.hgca.com.


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