ADAMA’s ongoing commitment to promoting the responsible use of crop protection chemicals and reducing the threat of key active ingredients being lost into water courses means we’re asking growers to think carefully about how and when they apply slug pellets and to ensure all spreading equipment is properly maintained and calibrated before pellets are applied.
To enable accurate pellet application, all spreading equipment should be calibrated in accordance with the machinery manufacturer’s recommendations to ensure they are producing an even and accurate spreading pattern.
In addition to regular calibration checks (prior to the start of the spreading season and, ideally, prior to each subsequent application), all pellet spreading equipment should also be tested to the required standard to ensure it can spread the desired product over the declared working width in an even and uniform pattern: in order to comply with the NSTS (National Sprayer Testing Scheme) Sustainable Use Directive, all pesticide application equipment over five years old should be tested every six years. If equipment is less than five years old it needs to be tested by its fifth anniversary, and then every six years thereafter.
As well as ensuring spreading equipment is correctly calibrated and tested, care should also be taken to ensure it is positioned at an appropriate height for the machine, usually 110cm for quad mounted applicators. Forward operating speed and aperture settings should also be considered to ensure pellets are applied at the correct rate, with the best practice considered to be a forward speed of 12km/h.
In terms of when to apply pellets, there are two golden rules:
- only after slug populations have reached threshold
- only when weather conditions are appropriate
In terms of the latter, it is strongly advised not to apply slug pellets immediately prior to heavy rainfall. With inferior pellets, this can lead to rapid degradation and increases the risk of active ingredients being leached in water courses.
In order to mitigate this issue, choose a slug bait which is durable and long-lasting, even in excessively damp conditions, such as Gusto® IRON, a new 2.94% ferric phosphate molluscicide which is manufactured using DesidroTM two-stage drying technology which microwaves the wet-processed pellets to dry them from the inside before using a convection heater to gently dry the exterior. This process ensures an ideal balance between persistence and palatability, with Gusto IRON pellets proving hard enough to ensure good weather resistance, but also remaining palatable to slugs even when first applied. The Desidro process also improves pellet durability, allowing for an accurate spreading pattern and baiting point density when applying across variable working widths.
For more information about testing or to get your machine tested, go to www.nsts.org.uk or click here: www.nsts.org.uk/static/assets/downloads/SlugPelletApplicatorTestLeaflets.pdf