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We continue to receive more reports of slugs attacking crops in parts of Victoria and New South Wales. Juvenile black-keeled slugs (Milax gagates) have been identified for consultant, Glenn Shepherd (IMAG Consulting), who reports finding them in crops around Dubbo in the Central West Slopes and Plains district of New South Wales. Glenn says one affected paddock has been baited with a metaldehyde bait to prevent further damage. Agronomist, Matt Coffey (Elders), has also observed black-keeled slugs, in isolated patches of crops with heavy clay soils around Yarrawonga, in the Northern Country district of Victoria. Slugs were easily found feeding in the mid-afternoon and Matt says numbers above 5 per m² were counted in some places. Agronomist, Hayden Lunn (Landmark), reports finding low numbers of dark coloured slugs in a canola crop near Finley, in the Riverina district of New South Wales. Although not confirmed, these are also likely to be black-keeled slugs. For further information on slugs, refer to PestFacts Issue No. 1.

In the past growers have tried numerous control methods for slugs including the application of insecticide foliar sprays. We have also had queries about the use of copper based products as a potential deterrent for slugs. At this time of year the options are very limited. Baiting with registered products remains the best approach. It is important to recognise that baits are not as effective against juveniles as adults, and baiting efficacy will be maximized when there are less alternative feed sources available. With the current damp conditions, particularly in south-western Victoria, slugs have been found actively feeding both during the day and at night so the timing of baiting is not particularly critical. Growers should simply bait affected paddocks when they are most accessible.

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