Researchers from Charles Sturt University hope to have a commercial “spray on nematode” mix available within the next two years to control snails in Australian crops. Four years of work have gone into this project so far, which will use native nematodes to kill four introduced snail species.
Stuart McColl, Sustainable Agriculture consultant at cesar, sees the value in this biological control concept and hopes we will see the successful transfer from science to an affordable commercial application.
Stuart said “snails are traditionally managed using baits, burning, or one of several labour intensive cultural control techniques. However an effective biological control option is a more positive outcome from an environmental perspective. A nematode (roundworm) solution could provide a more targeted approach and possibly reduce the non-target effects of baits. There are also limitations using baits, such as decreased efficacy on juveniles or lower levels of control when there is an abundance of alternative food available. If successful this novel approach would be a positive for farmers.”