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Introducing Axcela: mollusc pest control just got serious

Published on 16/04/2018

The new bait is called Axcela, and it’s been developed by Swiss-based Lonza, which recently acquired New Zealand-based speciality agrichemical business Zelam.
Axcela is manufactured via a unique wetextrusion process by Lonza, and combines the advantages of the specific mode of action of Meta Metaldehyde with the latest formulation techniques to give these pellets the highest levels of control of slugs and snails under a wide range of conditions.
That’s the message from Lonza NZ business development manager Mike Swift.
“Axcela works for two reasons: its active substance Meta metaldehyde is effective in the control of all target species, and the wet extrusion process makes it available to eat more quickly,” he explains.
The new molluscide contains 30 g per kg metaldehyde.
Other key benefits include even spreading and selectivity.
Precision manufacturing means that every Axcela slug pellet is uniform in shape, size and density, for even and unbiased distribution with all types of applicators. It’s virtually dust free too, Swift says.
The gelatinization process used in its manufacture allows the pellets to absorb water rapidly, so that slugs eat them sooner.
Inclusion of the bittering agent Bitrex helps guard against accidental ingestion by pets and field wildlife and the pellets are coloured to discourage birds from feeding on them.
With autumn sowing imminent, if not already underway, Swift says retailers can help their customers get the best out of the
new molluscide with some handy hints and practical advice.
“Effective slug control during establishment needs good monitoring. The key to success is to stay on top of the situation, be aware of what’s going on, understand how weather patterns could influence population dynamics, and always use pellets responsibly in an integrated pest control programme.”
Cultural controls include preparing a fine seedbed with a firm tilth, because slugs do not burrow through the ground but rather follow cracks or openings in the soil.
“It’s also good practice to avoid sowing slug susceptible crops after leafy crops such as oilseed rape (canola) that can carry high slug populations, especially in wet seasons.”
Farmers should also remove straw and other harvest residue (or incorporate them deeply), plough or cultivate when the weather and soil are dry and control volunteer plants to remove food sources.
As a rule, mineral, light and other drier soils generally carry lower slug populations than heavier soils; irrigation favours slugs and cultivation brings eggs to the surface and dries them out.
Careful application timing will ensure farmers and growers maximise Axcela cover periods and efficacy, Swift says.
In cereals, oilseed rape and sugar beet, pellets should be broadcast after drilling or seed emergence. In potatoes, they should be applied at first signs of slug activity.
“Best results are achieved by applying Axcela during mild damp weather when slugs are most active, but do not apply when rain is expected.”
Follow up applications may be required, for example in a wet season, or when slug pressure is particularly high.
“For optimum baiting points and maximum performance, application equipment needs to be calibrated carefully. Customers should set their equipment to achieve 60 baiting points per square metre. Calibration charts for popular spreaders are available at www.”
End users should always follow the label to maximise protection and minimise environmental impact, Swift says. No more than 21 kg per ha of Axcela should be applied per crop in total.
Lonza, the company behind Axcela, was founded in 1897 and today is a world-leading supplier to pharmaceutical, biotech and speciality ingredients markets.
It is a global company with more than 50 major manufacturing and R&D facilities, and nearly 14,000 full-time employees worldwide.
For more information visit www.axcela.


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