An Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programme is more successful than relying solely on chemical control, in the form of slug pellets, and can help increase yields and crop profitability.

This approach is key to helping minimise slug infestations which in turn will help reduce the need for metaldehyde treatment.

Therefore, the Metaldehyde Stewardship Group (MSG) suggest that metaldehyde slug pellets MUST only be used as part of an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programme.

For this reason, growers should consider these IPM steps:

  • Creating a fine, consolidated seedbed by rolling to produce a fine tilth, free of clods is a fundamental cultural control technique
  • Shallow cultivations to incorporate crop residues
  • Ploughing to bury surface trash
  • Drilling into fine, consolidated seedbeds at appropriate dates. 3cm depth is sufficient to deny slugs access to the seed
  • If seedbeds are more cloddy, sow deeper, at 4-5cm depth
  • Trapping to assess slug threshold levels to demonstrate that the use of┬áslug pellets is justified
  • If bait thresholds indicate a risk, apply pellets just after drilling or rolling if it is to be carried out
  • Applying a second treatment when slug activity is high and crop growth is slow
  • Taking into account individual field risk factors, including:
    • Slug history
    • Previous cropping
    • The time of year
    • Soil type and condition
    • Current and forecast weather
  • Soil management practices can also be implemented to reduce the risk of run-off from the soil surface, into ditches and watercourses. Establishing the crop and tramlines across the slope, parallel to watercourses is a useful technique