Potato, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts growers who have traditionally relied on methiocarb to control slugs will have to find an alternative once the EU ban on sales comes into effect in September this year.
Premium metaldehyde pellets such as Gusto 3 from Makhteshim Agan offer an excellent alternative with which to protect high-value crops, says Makhteshim Agan UK’s technical lead Paul Fogg.
Gusto 3 pellets are made from high-grade durum wheat flour, which is wet mixed, power-pressed and then dried using Desidro technology, a two-stage process that microwaves the pellet to dry the inside before using a standard heating system to dry the exterior. This ensures an ideal balance between persistence and palatability, Dr Fogg explains.
“Gusto 3 pellets are hard enough to ensure excellent weather resistance and longer activity, but are attractive to slugs even when first applied.”
Simulated wet weather trials have shown these pellets are as durable as methiocarb (Draza) pellets, long regarded as the wet-weather product, he adds. Gusto 3 pellets also remain highly effective.
“Once slugs ingest a lethal quantity they dehydrate as a result of excess mucus production, regardless of current or subsequent rainfall,” he explains. Metaldehyde is, however, harmless to beneficials such as earthworms, ground and carabid beetles and spiders.
Gusto pellets are smaller than other pellets at 2mm wide and have a 3% metaldehyde inclusion rate, says Dr Fogg. “This allows a much higher number of baiting points per hectare (45/m2 at 3.5kg/ha), important with opportunistic feeders like slugs.”