Snail, slug solutions served up

Tayler NealeAlbany Advertiser

The use of cheaper non-rainfast snail baits can produce similar results to more expensive options, according to a new report released by Stirling to Coast Farmers.

Farmers in the Albany port zone have flagged snails and slugs as a mounting issue in recent times.

SCF’s report focuses on providing information and solutions to the problem for local farmers.

SCF project officer Dr Kathi McDonald said a survey conducted in the early stages of the project highlighted the increasing impact of the issue, particularly in canola and barley crops.

“There is a high level of uncertainty amongst growers as to the efficacy of baiting programs on small conical snail control,” she said.

“Despite many of the grower respondents to the survey engaging in a baiting program, almost 60 per cent were unsure as to its effectiveness in controlling snails.”

The project involved caged bait and field trials in Kendenup, Woogenellup and Wellstead.

Dr McDonald said the report had drawn several conclusions.

“Depending on environmental conditions, cheaper non-rainfast baits such as Meta can be just as effective as the more expensive rainfast baits such as Metarex,” she said.

“However, the non-rainfast baits do lose efficacy and if longer-term crop protection is needed, the more expensive baits are likely to be more effective.

“Multiple applications of non-rainfast baits may be another option.

“Growers need to weigh up the costs of control and level of infestation in deciding on a bait type and strategy to control snails on their farm.”

Meta is priced at $4/ha, while Metakill is $8.

Dr McDonald also stressed the importance of bait points.

“The number of bait points is important; the more bait points per square metre, the better the kill,” she said.

“Calibrate spreaders to ensure an even spread of baits across the paddock to increase the likelihood of snails coming across them and feeding.”

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