Slug problems on corn

Slug damage on no-till corn.

Slug damage on no-till corn.

With all of the rain during the first week of May, and with seedling corn having emerged, we are hearing about slug pest problems, particularly in no-till corn.  Eastern Shore of Virginia is one area reporting issues.  Slug problems are a common concern in no-till systems when conditions are wet in the spring (see VCE Factsheet No. 444-109  https://pubs.ext.vt.edu/444/444-109/444-109.html) .  Another useful VCE factsheet on slug management in no-till corn from Bobby clark and Rod Youngman is:  http://offices.ext.vt.edu/shenandoah/programs/anr/CropandSoilEnvironmentalSciences/Slug_Fact_Sheet.pdf

Growers must keep four things in mind right off the bat: 1) corn plants are often not killed outright by the slugs and quite often have the ability to outgrow the leaf feeding injury by these slimy little beasts unless populations are very high and weather conditions are bad.  Soybean cotyledons, however, are more susceptible to being killed because their growing point can be damaged; 2) if it stops raining for a few days, then the slugs will go away and hide as they require high moisture levels; 3) replanting is an option, but a grower needs to factor in the economics see VCE Fact Sheet https://pubs.ext.vt.edu/2905/2905-1293/2905-1293_pdf;  and 4) if you are considering a chemical control measure, keep in mind that there are only a select few effective options such as slug bait products containing metaldehyde or iron phosphate.  These are not easy to apply (need to be broadcasted) and are fairly expensive.  However, these products are efficacious and will most often alleviate the slug problem long enough for your seedling plants to reach a sufficient size to no longer be economically damaged by slugs.  See VCE Fact sheet No. ENTO-178 for a recent efficacy evaluation that we did with slug baits.  http://pubs.ext.vt.edu/ENTO/ENTO-178/ENTO-178-PDF.pdf

 

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