Grain growers are encouraged to implement strategies to avoid snail contamination of grain this coming harvest. The South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) Entomology Unit advises that monitoring snail populations before harvest is recommended to determine the need for header modifications, as movement into crop heads is dependent on weather conditions. Snails present above cutting height in the canopy or in windrows can enter the header during harvest, potentially leading to clogging of machinery and grain quality downgrades.
SARDI entomologist Bill Kimber, whose work is supported through the Grains Research and Development Corporation’s (GRDC) investment in the National Invertebrate Pest Initiative (NIPI), says growers should check the number of snails, particularly those in the size range most likely to cause problems at harvest (ie, similar in size to grain). Header modifications aim to reduce intake of snails into the harvester and maximise the separation of snails and grain within the harvester.
Mr Kimber says with zero tolerance for bait contamination of grain, all snail baiting must be finished at least two months before harvest to ensure bait has broken down and does not itself become a contaminant.
The GRDC has published a Snail Management Fact Sheet which can be viewed and downloaded via www.grdc.com.au/GRDC-FS-SnailManagement. It provides information on minimising contamination at harvest as part of a year-round approach to controlling snails. More information on harvest techniques and integrated snail management is contained in the GRDC publication Bash 'em, Burn 'em, Bait 'em which is available for viewing and download via www.grdc.com.au/GRDC-Snails-BashBurnBait.
As a result of the increased prevalence of snails and slugs in the southern cropping region in recent years, the GRDC is further investing in a number of research and development programs which are mapping different species and looking at a range of control measures.
For further information
Bill Kimber, SARDI Entomology
(08) 8303 9370
Sharon Watt, Porter Novelli
CAPTION: Snails present above cutting height in the canopy or in windrows can enter the header during harvest, potentially leading to clogging of machinery and grain quality downgrades.
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