Increased slug damage has been reported by grain growers in Victoria, South Australia and southern New South Wales after continued wet conditions.
Some regions experienced this pest for the first time.
Slug Expert Michael Nash said wet conditions last spring extended the slug’s breeding season, resulting in higher numbers this season.
“This follows a string of dry years in some areas that are not used to seeing slugs as a threat,” Dr Nash said.
They include the Liverpool Plains of New South Wales and the Victorian Wimmera.
“The producers were caught off guard.”
To help growers manage the impact of slugs this season, the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) has updated a Slug Control Fact Sheet to help identify, monitor and control pest numbers to reduce crop losses.
The GRDC will also be hosting a series of slug management workshops throughout this month and next month.
Dr Nash said growers who had not anticipated the slugs and proactively implemented control measures, could have experienced high numbers of crop-damaging slugs and had to reseed.
“Crops are most vulnerable to slugs as seedlings, so growers should protect the crop until it becomes established, usually within the first four to eight weeks depending on soil temperature,” said Dr. Nash.
“The slugs emerge from the soil over a long period of time, so growers must have baits available to protect the seedlings during establishment, which means they may need multiple bait applications.”
Dr Nash said an integrated pest management approach was the most effective way to protect crops from slugs.
“No single method provides complete control, so growers must use an integrated approach.
“This should include monitoring enclosures, weather monitoring to identify risks, maintaining natural enemies and implementing cultural practices, such as establishing crops early to avoid emergence of slugs, rolling immediately after sowing, then baiting as needed.”
To help growers understand how to better predict slug problems and implement on-farm integrated management strategies, the GRDC slug workshop series is as follows:
- Rutherglen, Vic: August 16, 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m.;
- Yallunda Flat, SA: August 24, 7:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m.;
- Gippsland, Vic: August 30, 7:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m.;
- Rochester, Vic: September 1, 7:30-10:30 a.m.;
- Inverleigh, Vic: September 5, 7:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m.;
- Derrinallum, Vic: September 6, 7:30-10:30 a.m.;
- Tabor, Vic: September 7, 7:30-10:30 a.m.;
- Naracoorte, SA: September 8, 7:30-10:30 a.m.;
- Millicent, SA: September 9, 7:30-10:30 a.m.;
- Hagley, Tas: September 21: 7:30-10:30 a.m.;
- Campbell Town, Tas: September 23, 7:30-10:30 a.m.