10 August 2022, AU: Increased slug damage has been reported by grain growers in Victoria, South Australia and southern New South Wales after ongoing wet conditions. Some areas have experienced this pest for the first time.
Slug expert Dr Michael Nash said wet conditions last spring had extended the slug breeding period resulting in higher numbers this season.
“This follows a run of dry years in some areas that aren’t used to seeing slugs as a threat: for example, reports from the Liverpool Plains (NSW) and the Wimmera (Vic). Growers have been caught off guard” Dr Nash said.
To help growers manage the impact of slugs this season, the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) has updated a Slug Control Factsheet to assist with identifying, monitoring and controlling pest numbers to reduce crop losses.
GRDC will also be delivering a series of slug management workshops through August and September.
Dr Nash said growers who hadn’t anticipated slugs and proactively implemented control measures, could have experienced high slug numbers damaging crops, and have had to resow.
“Crops are at their most vulnerable to slugs as seedlings, so growers need to protect the crop until it establishes, usually in the first four to eight weeks depending on ground temperatures,” he said.
“Slugs emerge from the ground over an extended period of time, so growers need to have bait protecting seedlings during establishment, which means they may need multiple applications of bait.”
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 need to use an integrated approach. This needs to include paddock monitoring, weather monitoring to identify risk, maintaining natural enemies and implementing cultural practices, such as establishing crops quickly to avoid emerging slugs, rolling immediately after sowing, then baiting as needed,” he said.
To help growers understand how to better predict slug issues and implement integrated management strategies on-farm, GRDC is hosting slug workshops across South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania through August and September.
The workshops’ details are as follows:
Rutherglen – 16 August, 8.30am-1pm
Lower EP, Yallunda Flat – 24 August, 7.30-10.30am
Gippsland – 30 August, 7.30-10.30am
Rochester – 1 September, 7.30-10.30am
Inverleigh – 5 September, 7.30-10.30am
Derrinallum – 6 September, 7.30-10.30am
Tabor – 7 September, 7.30-10.30am
Naracoorte – 8 September, 7.30-10.30am
Millicent – 9 September, 7.30-10.30am
Hagley – 21 September, 7.30-10.30am
Campbell Town – 23 September, 7.30-10.30am