The DesidroTM manufacturing system uses a two-stage drying technique which microwaves the wet processed pellets to dry them from the inside before using a convection heater to gently dry the exterior. This ensures an ideal balance between persistence and palatability, with Gusto® IRON pellets proving hard enough to ensure excellent weather resistance, but also remaining palatable to slugs even when first applied.
The DesidroTM process also ensures excellent ballistic characteristics and minimal pellet shattering for an accurate spreading pattern and baiting point density, even when applying across wide working widths.
“According to the AHDB, slug damage costs UK farmers an estimated £100m per year. Unfortunately, despite the recent dry conditions, the excessively wet start to the year is predicted to have intensified the challenge by significantly boosting slug populations.”
- Mel Wardle - ADAMA Product Manager
Effective slug control focuses on the use of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to control slug numbers and to reduce reliance on chemical control measures. An IPM approach to slug control is more effective than relying solely on slug pellets and can also help to ensure maximum protection to the environment.
In terms of controlling slug populations, IPM involves the following steps:
The following risk factors influence the population of slugs in any given situation:
Slug activity, survival and reproduction are all dependent on moisture. Whilst the optimum temperature is 17°C, the grey field slug can still be active close to freezing; other species are only active in temperatures above 5°C
Soils with a high clay and/or silt content tend to retain more moisture and also become cloddy. Slugs are more prevalent on these soil types particularly where cloddy soils are more open, therefore allowing slugs to graze on seed or newly emerging shoots.
The risk of slug damage to winter wheat is much greater following a dense, leafy crop (such as oilseed rape) which has provided a moist, shaded environment and food for populations to build. It is also worth noting that cover crops grown over-winter can increase the slug risk to the following spring cereal crop for the same reasons.
Both of these practices increase the risk of slug damage. Generally speaking, autumn planted crops are more at risk although a cold, delayed spring can also increase the risk to spring crops.
Open and cloddy seedbeds allow slugs to move around easily and to access seed and emerging seedlings. Rolling cloddy seedbeds after drilling will help to reduce the potential for slug movement, but only if sufficient moisture is there to breakdown and consolidate clods.
lack of soil nutrients, poor drainage, weed competition and cold weather can all result in prolonging the period of seed germination and crop establishment thus extending the period when crops are vulnerable to slug damage.
A key step to combat slug populations effectively as part of an IPM approach is to understand where, when and to what extent slugs are causing a problem.
The best time to monitor slug populations is when the weather is mild and soil is damp. The most effective method is to use refuge shelters/traps. Each trap should consist of a tile or hardboard sheet or plant pot saucer of c.25-30cm diameter or square to provide a sheltered refuge where slugs will gather. Each trap should be baited with a food source to attract slugs (chicken layers’ mash is recommended – around two heaped teaspoonfuls per trap).
IMPORTANT: do not use slug pellets for this purpose.
The traps allow free movement of slugs which are more likely to visit the traps in mild temperatures and moist conditions during the night to feed and stay until the following morning when they can be counted.
In each field, nine traps (13 in fields >20ha) should be set out in a W pattern, with the traps concentrated in areas known to suffer damage. The following thresholds indicate a risk when soil and weather conditions favour slug activity:
Slug pellets should only be applied when the relevant threshold level has been reached.
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I joined the ADAMA team in the autumn of 2017, as the Regional Agronomy Manager in the East. I have lived in Suffolk for over 35 years and worked within the agricultural industry since graduating from Newcastle University in 1988. Suffolk is a central point within my region. I travel up into Norfolk and down into Kent and across into Essex, Beds, Bucks, Cambs and Herts.
Previously, I worked for a major distribution business and for a large buying group in Norfolk. I feel like I have dealt with farmers and agronomists for the majority of my career. It’s great to have built up some strong commercial and technical relationships over this time. I have always been impressed with the quality of ADAMA’s product’s and I enjoy keeping everybody updated on the portfolio.
My hobbies include a lot of sports, especially rugby albeit my playing days are along way behind me now!
Growing up on the family farm in Shropshire, I’ve always had a passion for agriculture. In 2006, I started my studies for a degree in Agriculture Land and Farm Management at Harper Adams. This included a placement year as a trialist for a leading chemical manufacturer which was the start of my technical focus within the industry. After graduating in 2010, I joined a global CRO and was based in the North West of England. This involved trial management across a broad range of crops including cereals, potatoes and vegetables. This gave me the background understanding to complete my BASIS certificate in both Arable and Field Vegetable disciplines.
In 2016, I joined ADAMA as the technical support co-ordinator before becoming a Regional Agronomy Manager a year later. This coincided with a return to Shropshire where I now reside, providing technical support for agronomy teams and growers for the North. Given the strengths of the ADAMA portfolio, my region includes particular focus on the West Midlands, East Midlands, Yorkshire and Ireland, though I am not adverse to a trip north on the M6 ‘for old time sake!
Living in the countryside and enjoying the outdoors from a young age has led to a keen interest in the success and sustainability of UK agriculture and the wider issues of food security and supply. I completed an MSc in Rural Estates and Land Management at Harper Adams University College and BASIS, FACTS & BETA whilst working as an agronomist.
Prior to joining ADAMA I worked as a trainee and qualified agronomist with a major UK agronomy provider and, latterly, as an AICC agronomist is Shropshire and the surrounding counties. This helped develop a keener appreciation of a grower’s requirements from their crops, and wider farm businesses, whilst helping me understand the day to day roles and responsibilities of a crop protection professional.
I joined ADAMA in 2017 as a Regional Agronomy Manager covering the South Midlands, southern England and the South West. Whilst providing technical advice to growers and agronomists, visiting trials and industry events I look forward to field walking with customers to try and help ‘keep my eye in’.