Autocast and Slug Control

Leaving straw as a mulch creates the perfect enviroment for slugs to feed and multiply. Therefore vigilant control and monitoring is essential from the start to acheive succesful establishment. Assess slug numbers in the preceding crop. Close inspection beneath the crop canopy on a damp morning can give a reasonable indication of the potential threat. Remember slugs can be of pin head size. Test baiting with methiocarb may also be a good indicator. Slug populations can be very localised so awareness of soil types and historical damage is very useful. Shaded headlands and field boundaries will often suffer from very high pressure from snails as well as slugs.

Slugs will continue to rise to the surface over a period of time especially during periods of wet weather, therefore sequential applications may usually be necessary. Slug pellets will also lose their integrity during periods of heavy rain.

All makes and types of pellet have been found to be equally effective although some poisons will kill predators such as the rain beetle as well. Many users favour the hot pressed durum type because of its longer lasting integrity although they are considerably more expensive.

Do not delay applying of pellets especially within the first four weeks of the growing season. for best results reapply following a wet period in the late afternoon /early evening.

Cracks in the soil act as slug motorways to moisture and safety and so even when conditions seem dry, damage can occur on a dewey morning.

Repeat low doses are far more effective than one full or even half rate dose of pellet.

Nitrogen fertiliser applied has an adverse effect on slugs probably due to the localised rise in acidity, but it also aids quicker establishment. So apply as soon as possible after rolling.


(1) Mix approx 3kg per hectare of slug pellets with the seed.

(2) After rolling apply 5 to 7 kg of pellets on the surface.

(3) Apply 25 to 50 kg of Nitrogen. ( see guide)

(4) Repeat application of slug pellets 7 to 14 days after the first application. Sooner if heavy rain has fallen.

(5) Continue to monitor the crop and repeat the application if necessary.

Finally pay particular attention to the spread width and pattern of your applicator. Very few if any reach the full 24 metres they may claim and some badly adjusted units will throw far more pellets to one side than the other so check.