Effective snail control starts now in Vines - Elders Rural Services

Effective snail control starts now in Vines

Many grape growers have had a long battle with snails this season. Last autumn through to spring, conditions were ideal for snail breeding in vineyards across Southern Australia. Grape growers have seen high numbers of snails in vine canopies, on posts and on trunks this growing season.

The pending autumn 2021 rains and the changing season will now trigger even greater snail activity. Therefore, immediately post-harvest is the perfect time to implement a vineyard baiting program; snails are active and feeding but haven’t yet begun to lay eggs.

Snails generally shelter in the vine canopy from late spring through summer to escape the heat. This can result in major contamination issues at harvest.  Common garden snail (Cornu aspersum), white Italian snail (Theba pisana) and vineyard or common white snail (Cernuella virgata) are regular culprits; however this varies between wine growing regions. Up to five species cause problems across southern Australia; the small pointed snail (Prietocella barbara) causes issues by blocking irrigation sprinklers.

Snails lay eggs from autumn through to spring, with some species laying up to 1500 eggs in small batches throughout the season. Most species  live for one to two years, however the common garden snail can live beyond five years. Eggs hatch within two weeks and juvenile snails can grow quickly to join existing populations to feed on new buds and young leaves.

Snail bait is the best form of control, with baits needing to be applied when snails are active and feeding. An effective bait needs to be attractive and palatable to snails, as well as being persistent and resistant to rain and weathering during autumn. Vineyards should be monitored throughout the season to ensure the baiting program is controlling snail populations effectively, and flag potential “hotspots” for next season’s control strategy.

Post-harvest autumn baiting is more effective than a program in spring and summer, despite the fact that snails and their damage are most visible at that time. The aim is to control the population before they lay their eggs; every snail killed in autumn before it has the chance to lay eggs prevents thousands entering the vineyard during the next two seasons. Controlling populations now lowers the number left to breed, and hence reduces feeding damage and contamination issues next season.

The choice of bait is critical to an effective result. The product must spread easily and evenly across the vineyard to reduce both application time and the need for constant and costly reapplication.

The product must also be attractive so that snails are drawn to it in preference to other food sources, and does not rely on snails finding it by chance. This is the difference between a true bait and an old-fashioned bran pellet.

The bait also needs to be palatable so that snails will eat enough to ingest a lethal dose. Avoid bran pellets with low quality ingredients and low levels of active ingredient.

The bait must be able to withstand rain, then heat, then rain again, yet still continue to work. Research by SARDI and others has demonstrated that commonly used bran pellets have a short lifespan and don’t work after rainfall.

Metarex Inov all weather slug & snail bait developed from science & nature providing superior control based on unique Colzactive technology for enhanced delivery.

Metarex Inov represents a breakthrough in snail control with less active and lower rates than Metarex. Yet Metarex Inov provides maximum attractiveness, enhanced palatability and faster effective kill over Metarex, while still having the well known long-lasting protection, being IPM friendly and having excellent ballistics.

There is really only one choice for an effective snail bait in vineyards: Metarex Inov. Only Metarex Inov has what it takes to control snails when the pressure is on.


Effective slug & snail control starts now in Broadacre crops

The optimal slug and snail breeding conditions over this past winter and spring is the reason you have to be on top of slug and snail control early, as numbers will be high this autumn. Slugs and snails cause major damage to Australian crops, with a range of destructive species found across large parts of the country. They pose a significant threat to the successful establishment of many crops and pastures. Slugs and snails cause crop damage to newly emerging crop and snails also pose a major contamination threat to both broadacre and horticultural crops.

Monitoring slug and snail populations is an important first step in the control process. Baiting early at sowing is essential; slugs and snails are discriminating eaters and it is the quality of the bait, particularly its palatability, which is important. An attractive product will ensure slugs and snails will encounter a bait.

Metarex Inov has had extensive testing in Australian conditions to prove its efficacy against slugs and snails. The key to good control is to apply Metarex Inov before breeding starts. The application window for optimal control varies from district to district and is also dependent on local environmental conditions such as weather and field parameters. For further information, contact your AgNova area manager.

There is really only one choice for an effective slug and snail bait in broadacre crops: Metarex Inov. Only Metarex Inov has what it takes to control slugs and snails when the pressure is on.


Article written by AgNova for the Autumn edition of Seasons Magazine.

Read more from our latest Seasons Magazine

Read more