Arable farmers up and down the country are being urged to ‘Get Trapping’ in a new, nationwide drive to keep tabs on slug numbers.
Using cutting edge mobile phone technology and the internet, the campaign will give FWi users exclusive access to the first full farmer grid of slug data collection that has been set up in the UK.
“A slug surge last year followed by moist conditions through much of the summer so far means we could be heading for a high risk year from arable farming’s number one pest,” warns entomologist Professor Glen, from Styloma Research & Consulting.
“But growers need to assess the risk to emerging crops on their own farms under local conditions, and effective monitoring is the only sound way to do this.”
To help growers keep tabs on the risk, FWi has teamed up with Meta-metaldehyde manufacturer Lonza and UK pellet manufacturers De Sangosse and Luxan to promote new slug-trapping guidelines.
One of the outcomes of a four-year industry and Defra-funded LINK research project, the guidelines help growers assess the risk of slugs to growing crops, minimise damage and target control to ensure the most cost-effective strategy is in place.
The ‘Get Trapping’ campaign goes one step further. Growers monitoring their slug population can text in results to help build a national Meta-map of slug numbers that will be hosted on FWi.
As a further incentive to ‘Get Trapping’ and get counting, growers who send in their results will receive a free key ring penknife* and will be entered for a monthly competition for a case of classic English wine.
Also keeping tabs on slug numbers will be four regional specialists, all practical entomologists, including Prof Glen, who have built up many years of experience at monitoring slug populations.
“I’d urge every grower who wants to ensure they have a cost-effective strategy that keeps the slug menace at bay this autumn to get involved,” he says.
* Conditions apply – see campaign details for more.