Getting the better of slugs before they get the best of your new crops is not just a matter of good planning and preparation this spring. It also comes down to picking the right tool for the job.
An effective active ingredient is only part of the package. To achieve good control, slug baits also need to be attractive and palatable to slugs; durable under wet conditions, and small enough to provide comparatively high ground coverage.
In the Bay of Plenty, where the warm, moist climate can create ideal conditions for slugs, Edgecumbe Technical Sales Rep Derek Gibson says slug bait is a good investment for both direct drilled and cultivated summer crops.
"We know you can lose 20-30 percent of a crop to slugs in early establishment. Compared to the costs of re-sowing, and the value of the summer feed lost when a crop fails, the cost of bait is very small."
Derek is a big advocate of direct drilling to help manage the high weed seed burdens which prevail on local farms. With this technique, the surface residues provide an ideal habitat and breeding ground for slugs, so baiting is very important. But bait is also useful as a barrier around the outside of cultivated crops, to kill slugs that migrate in from surrounding pasture.
SlugOut® All-Weather Slug and Snail Bait from Nufarm works well for Derek's clients. "It's easy to apply; farmers can put it on themselves; it tolerates moisture, and it has that ability to hang around and remain active."
SlugOut All-Weather was a world first when it was developed in New Zealand more than 30 years ago. Nufarm technical specialist Paul Addison was one of the science team at AgResearch who tested and refined the concept for New Zealand conditions.
"At the time, the only alternatives were extruded cereal baits that just fell to bits when it rained. What we designed is a bait that doesn't break up when it rains and has an edible coat on the outside of an inert core. That means the active ingredient is concentrated right where the slug feeds, and it doesn't have to eat much to consume a lethal dose.
"The other critical difference is that SlugOut is small. We knew it was important to ensure a high level of ground coverage, and you can't get that with a large bait size. Slugs' sense of smell is typically confined to centimetres not metres. If baits are scattered widely, you can't get the same level of control."
Metaldehyde, the active ingredient in SlugOut, does not harm earthworms or predatory beetles which feed on slugs, and poisoned slugs pose no threat to birds or small mammals.
® SlugOut is a registered trademark of Nufarm Technologies USA Pty Ltd.Article supplied by Nufarm.