Slug risk to spuds

Potato growers are being urged to protect crops against slugs following recent rainfall.

July and August are traditionally the peak months for slugs to attack potatoes due to summer showers and warm soil, said Jean Francois Testut of De Sangosse UK.

Conditions this year are ideal for slugs, he said: “We are at a stage of significant risk of slug damage to the crop.”

Timing of slug control is particularly important in potatoes due to the high quality demands in pre-pack and processed potato markets, and growers should maintain slug control throughout the season to beyond haulm destruction, he said.

Varieties most prone to attack are Maris Piper, Estima, Cara and Marfona, while Pentland Dell, Pentland Ivory and Sante are less susceptible, he noted.

“With all that moisture around you must consider the durability and integrity of the pellet.” Mr Testut suggests using durum wheat-based formulations such as Metarex and Clartex.

For an independant agronomist view on the way ahead for metaldehyde pellets and a guide to the products available, see this week’s Crops magazine (August 13).


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