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Think soil, slope, stream this autumn

With current high slug pressure and the autumn restriction period for metaldehyde now active, the Metaldehyde Stewardship Group (MSG) is urging growers and operators to remember the stewardship guidelines when applying slug pellets.

Simon McMunn, of the Metaldehyde Stewardship Group (MSG), advises that farmers think about field factors and land risk this autumn, “A field’s soil type, topography and its proximity to a watercourse are key to whether metaldehyde could be a risk to a watercourse that will subsequently be abstracted for drinking water.”

To find out if your land falls into this category, visit the Environment Agency’s ‘WIYBY’ website at www.wiyby.co.uk. Simply enter the postcode and if the land is within a ‘hatched’ area, click on it to find out if metaldehyde is an identified risk. However, Simon reminds growers that all those using metaldehyde slug pellets need to be responsible and mindful of the MSG guidelines.

Simon notes that as current weather conditions have been conducive to slug activity and high populations have already been reported, it’s vital to make pelleting decisions on a field-by-field basis. “Consider whether the soil is heavy or under-drained; if the field is on a gradient and whether there is a ditch or watercourse in close proximity. Think soil, slope, stream,” he cautions.

“It is important not to apply metaldehyde based slug pellets when heavy rain is forecast or if drains are flowing. It is also advisable to use the minimum amounts of the active per hectare to achieve effective control.”

“Growers are also reminded not to forget the annual calendar year metaldehyde limit of 700g/ha.

“There is also a seasonal total treatment limit, introduced under the MSG guidelines, of 210g/ha (or 160g/ha on BASIS qualified advice) between 1 August and 31 December.”

Simon concludes, “As the available options for control reduces with the loss of methiocarb, it is more important than ever to prevent exceedances of metaldehyde in water in order to help secure a future for this active and retain slug control choice.”

For more information or to read the MSG guidelines in full, visit www.getpelletwise.co.uk

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