NovaChem > Industry News > 2023 > Proactive pest control will pay off this spring

Proactive pest control will pay off this spring

Published on 02/10/2023

Not a pretty picture, is it? Slugs can have exactly the same affect, if not worse, especially if you direct-drill. The trouble is, by the time you see slug damage, it’s virtually too late to do anything about it.
This starts with picking a prod
uct with certain key characteristics – durability under wet conditions, the right size to provide thorough ground coverage, and palatability.

SlugOut ticks the boxes all
round, combining weatherability and palatability with a very high loading of active ingredient on the surface area where slugs eat.

That’s thanks to an inert, bio
degradeable core, wrapped in a tasty cereal-based coating. Known as Corbie Technology, this remains a standout feature for SlugOut.

“It doesn’t take long for slugs
to ingest a lethal dose of metaldehyde, which then immobilises them, and irreversibly damages their mucus cells, causing death,” Nufarm technical specialist Paul Addison explains.

Metaldehyde does not harm
earthworms, or beneficial predatory beetles which help control slugs in the paddock, and poisoned slugs pose no threat to birds or small mammals.

The number of bait points per
square metre is equally important for getting the right result.

“At the recommended label rate
of 10 kg per ha, FAR trials show SlugOut has 112 bait points per sq metre, which is much higher than other baits with the same active ingredient.”

Addison recommends broad
casting SlugOut at 10-15 kg per ha at or immediately after sowing. Split applications – with half the bait spread five to 10 days before sowing and the other half at planting – usually give the best results, he says.

“Above all, make sure you don’t
leave it one to two days after sowing! When we say immediately, that’s what we mean.”

The bait can also be direct
drilled at 10 kg/ha into the furrow with seed, but only where the drill leaves a distinct open drill slot which is not common with modern drills.
Slugs love clover, but will eat
cereals, maize, forage brassicas, fodder beet and grass too, attacking and hollowing out newly sown seed, destroying the plant embryo and new shoots before or after emergence.

This spring, the odds are defi
nitely tilted in slugs’ favour, warns Addison.
“Potentially, the risk of major
damage to newly sown crop and grass is huge, simply because recent weather patterns will have enhanced slugs’ ability to multiply and survive in several regions.”

Winter has been wet in many areas, but slugs are good at mov
ing to higher ground when they need to.

Conditions in summer and au
tumn were good for over-wintering and egg survival, so monitoring and appropriate control are essential for spring sown crops and pasture, he says.

“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, and the reliance farmers have on the feed grown on-farm as a result of making that investment.”

Direct-drill crops or new grass
must be high priority for monitoring.
Direct drilling is popular be
cause it minimises soil disturbance. However, the plant residues left behind with this cultivation technique provide slugs the perfect place to live and breed.

Rather than guess or gamble on
how many slugs might be present, Addison says the best advice is to randomly scatter six to 10 wet sacks, boards, frisbees or other similar objects throughout paddocks to be drilled. These should be left out for several nights, and checked for slugs during the day.

As few as two to three slugs per
object means enough are present in the paddock to make bait cost effective.

Times are tight for many farm
ers, he says, so it’s important to know how to get the best results from baiting.

For more detail contact your lo
cal Nufarm territory manager.

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