With our new ferric phosphate slug pellet, Gusto IRON, recently launched and another novel molluscicide active ingredient currently being developed, we recently carried out a survey to identify what growers look for when choosing slug pellets and how those pellets are used.
What we learned was that growers are anticipating another year of intense slug pressure predominantly because the wet weather in the second half of the spring coincided with the main breeding period resulting in the potential for an increased population this autumn. The survey also highlighted that whilst the majority of growers are using pellets correctly, there’s still considerable room for improvement in terms of when and, to a certain extent how, pellets are applied.
In terms of how growers assess the slug threat in their crops, 69% rely on visual inspections when crop walking, 28% use slug traps and 3% use slug forecasting tools.
How slug threat is assessed in crops - survey results
In an ideal world, 100% of growers would be using traps to assess the risk, not only to ensure pellets aren’t applied until slug populations have reached threshold, but also because trapping is a more reliable way of determining when slugs are active compared to basic visual inspections which can be more hit and miss depending on when the crop is walked and during what conditions.
The survey also indicated that the most critical factors when choosing a slug pellet were palatability, active ingredient efficacy and pellet longevity in wet conditions. Spreading accuracy, mould resistance and pellet visibility were also highlighted as being important considerations, with growers expressing a clear preference for high quality, value-added pellets such as Gusto IRON which gives the ideal balance between palatability and longevity as well as colour retention and mould resistance.
A high-quality slug pellet such as ADAMA’s Gusto IRON should be used to ensure spreading accuracy and long-lasting slug control
The survey also indicated that, as expected, the majority of growers surveyed are applying slug pellets to a width of 12-18 metres (37% of growers are applying pellets to 12 metres, with an additional 24% spreading to 18m. A further 32% are spreading to 24m, with the remaining 7% spreading to 36m). Even at narrow working widths it’s imperative to ensure that spreading equipment is correctly calibrated and that it is operated at an appropriate forward speed according to the prevailing climatic conditions in order to ensure spreading accuracy and optimal baiting point density.
What working width are slug pellets applied - survey results