Mild summer worsens snails

Mild summer worsens snails


Local Business Feature
A lack of hot weather on the Yorke Peninsula during summer meant some farmers had to scrap cabling plans.

A lack of hot weather on the Yorke Peninsula during summer meant some farmers had to scrap cabling plans.

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A mild summer has made it challenging for farmers to manage snails in the Yorke Peninsula, agronomists say.

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A mild summer has made it challenging for farmers to manage snails in the Yorke Peninsula, agronomists say. 

Greater concentrations were recorded on the southern YP and along the coastal areas, along with grey, calcareous loam soil types.

Round and conical snails have been found across the YP, while conical snails have been concentrated along the southern end and coastal areas.

Conical and juvenile round snails have been harder to bait than bigger snails because they do not move as far as the adult round snails and do not come across the baits as readily.

Cabling was unable to be done in the region because the weather was not hot enough to make the technique effective.

YP AG agronomist Chris Davey said the snail burden across the region was high to very high because of the wet spring and summer.

“It’s been ideal weather for snails to breed in,” he said.

Mr Davey said more burning prior to seeding had occurred this year compared to previous years, predominantly for stubble management, which had helped to control snails.

“They’ve been eating seedlings as they have come through the ground,” he said.

“Fortunately, there has not been any re-seeding because of them.”

Mr Davey said farmers had baited earlier than normal and at higher rates.

”Historically, people looked to bait from seeding through to just prior to harvest,” he said.

“But we now know baiting can happen all year round if conditions are suitable. Farmers will take every opportunity available to get snail numbers down.”

Mr Davey said farmers baited in January during humid and wet conditions, and then during the rain period in the lead-up to Anzac Day.

Baiting will continue throughout the season.

Rolling, cabling and slashing are other techniques farmers use to manage the pest.

Mr Davey said farmers had been doing more rolling and slashing due to the higher numbers.

He said snails had been laying a lot of eggs since the April rains, so farmers were gearing up for baiting in late winter and early spring as eggs started to hatch in August.

AW Vater & Co agronomist Zack Zweck said legumes and canola had been the most challenged by snails this year. 

Mr Zweck said snails generally caused the most damage early on in crop life.

“The snails nibble off green leaf, particularly in canola where they can wipe the whole plant out,” he said. 

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