Scientists at Harper Adams University are implanting slugs with tracking devices in an attempt to gain a better understanding of the important crop pests.
The researchers are hoping to prove a theory that, rather than being evenly distributed across fields, slug populations are focused in patches. Knowing this would help improve control strategies.
The slugs are anaesthetised before a small cut is made in the skin and the tracker, which is smaller than a grain of rice, is inserted. Once released, the slugs can be tracked, even underground, using a device which looks similar to a metal detector.
Funding for this study has come from the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), which estimates that slugs can cause £100m of damage to UK crops if they aren’t properly controlled.
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The post Scientists implant slugs with trackers appeared first on Hort News on 26 February 2016.
The loss of methiocarb does not mean growers will not be able to control slugs, but they must take care to select the right product say agronomists and manufacturers.
The Cereals event in June will include a ‘Slug Trail’ offering NRoSO and BASIS points to those completing it by visiting the Water UK, Certis and DeSangosse stands. “The aim is to equip spray operators and advisers with an understanding of the risks that can lead to metaldehyde exceedances occurring in water,” says Simon McMunn of the Metaldehyde Stewardship Group (MSG), which is working closely with the water companies.
Meanwhile independent agronomist Neil Pratt has said that his work comparing slug pellets has shown it is, “It’s important to match pellet choice to situation. Durability and ballistic performance are the principal considerations – these attributes determine how consistently the pellet spreads and how long it persists in the field.”
He advises that while some metaldehyde-based pellets have similar properties to phased out methiocarb products, in certain situations, such as where water courses may be affected, ferric phosphate pellets should be used.
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