Slug management advice is available to Western Australian grain growers, who are encouraged to plan now to aid control of the pests next year.
Coinciding with wet conditions during the growing season, some significant slug damage to crops occurred in areas including west of Kojonup and on isolated soil types in the Esperance, Ravensthorpe and Albany regions.
The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) western region Hot Topic Slugging Slugs outlines information about monitoring and managing slugs and is available at www.grdc.com.au/slugs-west.
Department of Agriculture and Food (DAFWA) entomologist Svetlana Micic, who helped compile the Hot Topic, said slugs were usually found on heavy soils and wet areas.
“Well timed bait applications can reduce slug numbers if applied before egg laying occurs at the start of the season,” she said.
“Now is the time – before harvest – to record where slugs have been present this year, regardless of whether they caused damage, as it can take more than one season for slugs to reach damaging levels in a paddock.
“Next year, make these areas a priority for checking slug activity, ideally before seeding.
“This will mean baits can be applied to control slug numbers before they breed.”
Ms Micic said that while there was no silver bullet for slug control, baiting and monitoring were still the best options to protect crops from damage.
Slugs and snails have been identified by the GRDC’s Esperance and Albany Regional Cropping Solutions Networks (RCSNs) as priority issues for local growers.
Under the RCSN initiative, slug and snail expert Michael Nash, of the South Australian Research and Development, recently addressed RCSN representatives and growers in WA’s southern cropping regions about management of and research into these pests.
“Discussed at all meetings was the need for alternative controls for slugs in WA, as burning and tillage only controls the reticulated slug,” GRDC RCSN coordinator Julianne Hill said.
“These options conflict with minimum tillage and stubble retention systems and do not control the black keeled slug which burrows under the ground in summer.”
GRDC supported surveys conducted by DAFWA have found that most slugs in WA crops are the black keeled slug or the reticulated slug.
Svetlana Micic, DAFWA
08 9892 8591
Natalie Lee, Cox Inall Communications
08 9864 2034, 0427 189 827
GRDC Project Code
SFS00023, GRS00080, CSE00046, UMU00047