shoots in soil

Slugs can be a problem for many crops and cause injury to crop plants through direct feeding. 


Slugs are gastropod molluscs that do not have an internal shell. Unlike many other insects, the young emerging from eggs is similar to adults. 

A singular slug is estimated to kill around 50 wheat seeds within one week of sowing and completely destroy oilseed rape crops when seedlings are emerging. 

The optimum temperature for optimum activity, reproduction and overall survival is 17 degrees centigrade. 

Widespread damage can be seen in leafy crops after manure applications in the autumn. Volunteers ad weeds also provide slugs with plentiful food and shelter. 

Control Recommendations 

The control and monitoring of slugs are most effective when conditions are moist and between 5 and 25 degrees. Each crop will have critical control periods specific to the individual crop. 

Ploughing can reduce slug numbers, minimum tillage can give a significant reduction in slug numbers in comparison to direct drilling. 

Related Links 

Related Organisations

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Connected Content

Integrated Pest Management highlights the growth of a healthy crop with the least possible disruption to agro-ecosystems and encourages natural pest control mechanisms. IPM is one of the tools for low-pesticide-input pest management, and IPM must now be implemented by all professional agchem users.

Today’s farmers keenly understand their roles as custodians of our farmed environment. Agriculture is a vital industry in East Anglia, but in the driest region in the UK water supplies are precious and needs safeguarding.  Anglian Water is working closely with farmers to ensure that we maintain healthy water quality as well as healthy crops and a healthy rural economy.

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Invertebrate pests cause problems in agriculture when the level of injury they cause reaches a point where the crop yield is significantly reduced.   

Strategies Leading to Improved Management and Enhanced Resilience against Slugs (SLIMERS) This project is led by BOFIN, partnered with CHAP, AGRIVATION, Harper Adams University, John Innes Centre, and Small Robot Company. It is funded by Defra Farming Innovation Programme, delivered by Innovate UK.

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