Proactive approach key to optimising slug control

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Potato Review gets some advice on protecting tubers from slug damage this season

GROWERS are being urged to take a proactive approach to tackling slugs in potato crops, with early season risk assessments and timely and accurate slug pellet application key to protecting marketable yield from this damaging pest.

 

Potatoes are a high value crop but very costly to grow and with recent inflationary pressure pushing cost up further, growers need to remain particularly vigilant against threats that could dent returns this season.

 

One of those threats is the slug, with markets having a relatively low tolerance to its impact and the possibility of feeding damage ever present on more bodied soil types and where irrigation is applied.

 

Risk assessments

 

That’s why Agrii’s potatoes and irrigation services technical and development manager Nick Winmill highlights the importance of slug risk assessments ahead of the two critical control periods for slugs and actively encourages growers to carry them out.

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The first of those control periods is between 50% and 75% canopy closure when a moist, shady microclimate encourages slug activity near the surface of potato ridges, and the second at early bulking when slugs move down to gorge on developing tubers.

 

Further attention to slugs can also be required soon after desiccation programmes commence, depending on the season, Nick adds.

 

This is particularly the case following the loss of diquat, with other methods of haulm destruction potentially slower if conditions are cool and dull.

 

To read the full article, see the May issue of Potato Review. You can subscribe here.

 

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