“Changing farm management is leading to a change in pest threats such as snails and slugs,” leading entomologist Dr Michael Nash, who will be speaking at BCG’s Trials Review Day on Friday, February 23, warns growers.
“Slugs and snails need moisture and if you’re retaining more moisture in your farming system, which leads to increased yields, you will get more slugs and snails.”
Dr. Nash will outline at the event, to be held at the Birchip Leisure Centre, the importance of good biosecurity and how best to control slugs and snails.
“Slugs and snails need transport, traditionally it was along railways and the irrigation channels and, of course, now you’ve taken all the irrigation channels out, so they are now moving around on trucks and produce,” Dr. Nash explains.
“Therefore, slugs and snails are a biosecurity problem and now with more exotic snails on the biosecurity list, the issue is rapidly growing.”
Dr. Nash believes understanding the ecology of these pests is paramount in their management.
“Slugs behave very differently to insects and so therefore your understanding of the ecology of both slugs and snails needs to then underpin how you might manage that threat,” he says.
“At BCG’s Trials Review Day I’ll be helping growers understand these differences. For example, they don’t have set life cycles. Snails and slugs breed in response to environmental conditions. So, you can’t calculate a degree day model of when the eggs are going to hatch and when to spray, such as you would do for say, native budworm in faba beans.
“Another key difference is slugs and snails hibernate (aestivation), so it is necessary to fully understand activity so you can confidently implement an effective and economical management plan.”
Dr. Nash will also explain his approach to monitoring and why dedicating ample time to manage slugs and snails is a good economical decision.
Other topics covered at BCG’s Trials Review Day will include farmer and adviser experiences, grid sampling at a paddock scale, silicon in wheat and lentils, long coleoptile for moisture management, crop disease research, Rosinweed and Star of Bethlehem management, insects in harvest weed seed control systems, vetch for risk mitigation in dry times, soil microbial indicators, pulse update, Septoria and cereal disease update, the latest cereal varieties and protein mapping experiences.
As a members-only event, attendees will have first access to the 2023 BCG Season Research Results compendium to be released on the day.
BCG Trials Review Day is a members-only event. To become a member, visit www.bcg.org.au/memberships . To secure your place at BCG’s Trials Review Day, register at https://www.bcg.org.au/event/bcg-trials-review-day/ .
The event will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m..
This project received funding from the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund.
This article appeared in The Buloke Times, 2 February 2024.