Management Tips to Combat Slugs

Management Tips to Combat Slugs
We are hearing more reports of slug damage from cereal rye fields across the Midwest. We do highlight some management considerations in our newly released Soil First™ Management Guide (Edition 6) on pg. 29. To view that information click here 
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Besides the points on pg. 29, we’d like to elaborate as we continue to hear what’s helping fight slugs. Here are things to think about, which often go against the practical, traditional cropping systems we see across the Corn Belt:

  • Cover crops give slugs an alternate food source vs. attacking the growing cash crop. This works when the cover crop is allowed to mature to the point of seed production. While this isn’t for everyone, we’ve witnessed it this past spring. Standing green cover attracts beneficial insects (ground beetles, etc.) which feed on slugs.
  • Enhance your rotation. Varying your crop rotation often disrupts life cycles and perennial timing issues we see with many pests. The more varied the cropping cycle, the less pests (like slugs) can adapt.
  • Lastly, consider these options that many growers continue to use with some level of success:
    • Metaldehyde (Deadline and others). About 5 lbs./acre broadcast. Slugs eat the pellets and die from dehydration. Industry research shows this product doesn’t have any harmful effects on many of slugs’ natural predators.
    • Nitrogen. Applying liquid N at night (when slugs are most active) has worked in many areas. Using 28% or 32% mixed with water for a couple nights (maybe a third) in a row should be the plan. N basically melts the slugs.