Farmers are reminded not to forget that even as temperatures drop, slugs will remain active, posing a high risk to establishing crops.
Dr David Ellerton, Technical Development Director at Hutchinsons, comments; “Following heavy rainfall and mild weather, slugs are thriving. And although colder weather and frosty periods will start to slow them down in the coming weeks, they will continue to be a problem down to at least 4-5°C.
“With the weather conditions as they are at present, there is a large window for potential slug damage.”
Many growers have delayed drilling this autumn to attempt to battle black grass but David advises that late sown crops will continue to be a risk, even in lower temperatures. “Get pellets on as soon as possible after drilling,” he recommends.
“Even down to single figure temperatures, ferric phosphate continues to hold its efficacy and palatability to slugs. We are confident that Sluxx or Derrex are the ideal products to use in the colder weather, as well as during more temperate conditions.”
He adds that because applications of metaldehyde will have been made to many crops already, using ferric phosphate is a useful option in order to avoid exceeding the restriction limits and to remain within the Metaldehyde Stewardship Group guidelines.
Alan Horgan, Technical Officer at Certis, warns that following the recent heavy rainfall some fields may be approaching their moisture holding capacity. “It is especially important in these soil conditions, where drains are flowing or about to flow, that we consider the increased risk of exceedances occurring when using metaldehyde based pellets. It is advisable that an alternative pellet, like ferric phosphate, is applied.“
He also comments that low temperature efficacy with Sluxx is supported by their research. “We are confident that as long as slugs are active then ferric phosphate will continue to be a reliable means of control.”
Sluxx contains ferric phosphate and is a high quality, wet process, pasta pellet, and doesn’t have the same application restrictions as methiocarb or metaldehyde products, with no harvest interval, no buffer zone and no water related issues.