Mitigating snails, slugs and slaters in Southern Western Australia

Published: 29 Mar 2019


The move to no-till farming practices, which has increased the amount of retained crop residues on farms, has resulted in substantial improvements in soil health and crop productivity and enhanced farm business viability. However, the change has also favoured some pests that thrive in these environments, including snails, slugs and slaters. Crop damage caused by these pests has increased in the past 10 to 15 years across Western Australia’s grain-growing regions since the adoption of no-till farming.

Snails are the most widespread of these pests in Western Australia (WA). They cause damage to grain crops at germination and can potentially cause a costly downgrade of  harvested grain if not carefully managed. Slug damage is steadily increasing across the medium to high-rainfall zones with emerging canola crops being particularly vulnerable. Slaters have been in farming systems for some time but have only recently begun to damage emerging canola crops in specific conditions.

Work on the ecology and control of snails and slugs has been underway in the eastern states for more than a decade and more recently in WA. Less is known about slater behaviour and control, with reports of damage still relatively limited compared with the other pests. Our understanding of slaters so far relies on anecdotal reports of damage from
growers and agronomists.

The aim of this booklet is to combine research and grower experiences from Southern Australia (SA), the eastern states and southern WA and share it with WA growers in an easy-to-read format, with information that can help growers to reduce the numbers of snails, slugs and slaters on their farms. The booklet provides a consistent approach to integrated pest management throughout the year that should help to reduce numbers and damage to manageable levels and prevent these pests from becoming a more significant problem.

Topics covered in this publication

  • Best practice management (mitigation, crop damage, monitoring and control options, green bridge, stubble management, windrow burning, snails at harvest, biosecurity)
    • Snails
    • Slugs
    • Slaters
  • Research updates
    • Baiting
    • Targeted baiting
    • Pest management
    • Improved management
  • Grower case studies

Download PDF

Region: West

ISBN: 978-1-921779-82-4 (print)

ISBN: 978-1-921779-83-1 (Online)