** Latest – Slug watch results and Meta map **
Get trapping and get counting. That’s the message from the experts if you really want to get on top of slug control and want to add some sophistication to your existing slug programme.
Slugs are the number one arable pest, and a slug surge last year, with damp conditions this summer mean populations are likely to be high this autumn.
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 in a new national drive to get real-time information on in-field slug populations over the autumn.
To get involved and to get your FREE penknife just follow these simple steps:
• Register, by filling in your name, address and mobile phone number below in our online form.
• Get out into your fields and Get Trapping, following the LINK guidelines you’ll find below.
• Use your mobile phone to text us on 60300 with the average number you find for each trap you set, details below.
What do I text?
Just key in slugs <your region> <slug population> So, for example, if your average trapped number was 4 and you live in Shropshire, you’d key in slugs west 4 and send it to 60300. Look here to find your region.
We’ll send you a FREE penknife when we receive your first submission AND you’ll be entered for our competition to win a CASE OF CLASSIC ENGLISH WINE!
What happens to the data?
We’re building a national Meta-map which will give an indication of the slug burden in your area. This will go live on FWi as soon as we have enough data.
There’s also a network of independent experts monitoring numbers and feeding their data through.
• South: Professor David Glen, from Styloma Research & Consulting
• West: David Green, from ADAS Wolverhampton
• Scotland and North: Dr Andy Evans, from SAC Edinburgh
• East: Greg Talbot from ADAS Boxworth
These new guidelines have been developed following a four-year industry & Defra-funded LINK research project. Follow these and you will get a realistic idea of the burden on your farm and whether you need to apply Meta-metaldehyde pellets
• The activity of slugs on the soil and field surface relies on humid and mild weather with night time temperatures above 5°C and top daytime temperatures below 25°C. When planning to trap slugs the field surface should be visibly moist and be wet enough to remain moist all night. If the soil surface has dried out during the trapping period, ignore the result.
• Typically, traps consist of inverted plant saucers (25cm diameter) or fabric mats of a similar size. Using bait increases trap catches, but never use piles of pellets as trap bait for fear of endangering non-target species. Chicken layer’s mash has been proven to be safe and effective as slug trap bait.
• The best time in the cropping cycle to test trap for slugs is prior to cultivation. After the soil has been disturbed and inverted by cultivation, slug numbers can be easily underestimated as their surface activity is severely reduced.
• For a statistically-sound result the accepted pattern of traps in the field is a ‘W’ shape in each field being assessed. For fields up to 20 ha in size nine traps should be laid out. For bigger fields 13 traps should be used with the ‘W’ pattern set up to concentrate sampling in known slug damage areas.
• Once set up, the traps should be left overnight and examined early the next morning.
• Count the slugs. For fields going into wheat, if less than four per trap, plan to continue trapping and monitoring when weather is “slug friendly”. If four or more slugs are counted per trap it is advised to apply pellets, dependent on wet or cloddy soil conditions at and after drilling and the stage of crop growth. Always use manufacturer’s recommended dose-rates.
• In standing cereals before oilseed rape four slugs counted per trap are sufficient to justify the application of slug pellets. And, warns Professor Glen, in cereal stubbles immediately prior to planting rape even one slug per trap is an indication of a slug population which could need pellet application.
Should I apply pellets?
Consult your agronomist, but if thresholds are reached, wet or cloddy seedbed conditions justify pellet application to avoid damage, especially at the key point of autumn drilling in vulnerable crops such as winter wheat and oilseed rape.
Slugs are the number one arable pest and can cause severe damage to cereals and oilseed rape.
It’s a risk few growers can afford to make, and you need a pellet you can rely on. That’s why you should always use Meta-metaldehyde pellets.
Always look for the Meta Quality Mark, because not all pellets are the same.
Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Northampton, Nottinghamshire, Rutland and Suffolk
Berkshire, Channel Islands, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Kent, Middlesex, Somerset, Surrey, Sussex and Wiltshire.
Avon, Cheshire, Derbyshire, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Oxfordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, West Midlands, Worcestershire and the whole of Wales.
Cleveland, Cumbria, Durham, Isle of Man, Gt Manchester, Lancashire, Merseyside, Northumberland, Tyne & Wear, Yorkshire, Scotland and N Ireland.
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