Imagine your results if you only sowed half the recommended rate of grass or crop seed per hectare (ha) this spring. Slugs can have the same effect, if not worse, especially if you direct-drill.
The trouble with slugs is, by the time you see the damage, it's virtually too late to do anything about it.
Some pastoral insect pests can be dealt with very effectively by monitoring and controlling their presence after they become apparent. But with slugs, it's always better to be proactive rather than reactive.
While there are many species of introduced slugs in this country, the grey field and brown field slugs cause the most harm to crops and some pasture.
Reflecting on this year, Paul Addison, technical specialist for Nufarm, says unexpected slug damage occurred after autumn sowing.
Since then, conditions have been good for over-wintering and egg survival, so monitoring and appropriate control are essential for the growth of your spring-sown crops and pasture.
"The price for getting it wrong is just too high, especially when you're looking at the overall investment required for sowing a paddock of new grass or crop."
Paul says there are several types of bait available to apply at sowing time.
However, he adds if farmers want to protect beneficial predatory beetles - which help control slugs in the paddock - baits containing methiocarb should not be used because they cause secondary poisoning.
In this case, metaldehyde, should be used. It's the active ingredient in SlugOut®, is not harmful to earthworms, and the poisoned slugs pose no threat to birds or small mammals.
Another key consideration in picking the right slug control is coverage, or the number of bait points per square metre (m), Paul advises.
"Industry research has repeatedly reinforced the importance of coverage in obtaining effective control where high numbers of slugs are present, most recently in the Foundation for Arable Research's latest Integrated Pest Management guide.
"This is where SlugOut comes into its own," he says.
"At the recommended label rate of 10 kilograms per ha (kg/ha), FAR trials show SlugOut has 112 bait points per square m, which is much higher than other baits with the same active ingredient."
Paul strongly encourages checking paddocks before sowing and leaving out sacks or boards for two or three nights to find out if slugs are present.
Bait should be automatically used in all no-till situations because not cultivating creates ideal conditions for survival. If cultivated seedbeds are cloddy, farmers should monitor and consider baiting.
SlugOut All-Weather Slug and Snail Bait was jointly developed in New Zealand by Nufarm and AgResearch.
It combines excellent weatherability, mould resistance, palatability and efficacy. The unique formulation of SlugOut concentrates the metaldehyde in the outer part of the bait, ensuring a lethal dose is rapidly ingested by slugs.
For more advice, talk to your Farm Source Technical Sales Representative today.
SlugOut® is a registered trademark of Nufarm Technologies USA Pty Ltd
Article supplied by Nufarm