Managing small conical snails factsheet

Published: 5 Feb 2021

Small conical snails are an emerging pest in southern WA. They can damage crops at germination, reduce pasture biomass and downgrade harvested grain if not managed carefully.

Snail management requires a strategic approach and can include removing the green bridge, burning windrows and timely baiting early in the season to prevent snails from breeding. However, even with a good control program, snails can be a problem at harvest. In WA, grain receival standards for snail numbers in barley and canola have tightened. Snails in canola seed and barley grain can result in a discount or even in the seed or grain being undeliverable.

Key points

  • Small conical snails (Prietocella barbara) are an emerging pest in southern Western Australia and can downgrade harvested grain
  • Snail-crushing grain rollers in conjunction with rotary grain cleaners have been successfully used for less than 10 years on the Yorke Peninsula, South Australia, to remove snails from harvested grain
  • In a WA trial, rolling grain barley reduced small conical snail numbers by 70 per cent on average without damaging grain quality
  • In the same trial, using a rotary grain cleaner with 2.2 millimetre screens removed 95 per cent of small conical snails from canola seed, but canola losses could be up to 5.5 per cent
  • Snail rollers with a gap between rollers of 0.7mm or less reduced the number of snails in canola seed by 43 to 91 per cent
  • As the gap between rollers decreased, the percentage of damaged seeds and admixture increased

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Region: West

GRDC Project Code: SCF1906-003SAX,