18 May 2017
Snail baiting trials carried out by a grower group in Western Australia
have shown that pellet density has a direct effect on slug and snail mortality.
Irrespective of active ingredient – the trials featured pellets
containing metaldehyde as well as iron phosphate – the more bait points there
were, the more snails were killed by the baits.
The research was carried out by Stirling to Coast Farmers (SCF). Snails
are becoming an increasing phytosanitary risk in Australian grain shipments
such as barley, but also canola. Small pointed conical snails found in exported
grain led to China imposing a ban on imports from certain regions in Australia
last year, and data from CBH – one of Australia’s main grain handlers – found
that the number of snails detected has doubled in number every year.
Dr Kathi McDonald, who conducted the research, said that almost half
the 120 growers involved in her survey said small pointed conical snails were
present on their farms.
“Almost 60 per cent of growers with snails on their properties reported
the pests were at levels requiring baiting. However, there’s a high level of
uncertainty amongst growers as to the efficacy of baiting on control of these
Dr McDonald conducted ‘caged bait trials’ in collaboration with the
Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia (DAFWA). During 2017, SCF
will conduct field trials to further test the efficacy of various baiting
options in ‘real life’ situations.
In addition to the field trials, another DAFWA researcher is leading a
Grains Research and Development Corporation project to increase knowledge of
agriculturally significant slug and snail species. Svetlana Micic will use
cameras to monitor slug and snail movements, aiming to produce a model that
growers can use to target bait applications when the molluscs are most active.