Snail Baiting as part of an Integrated Pest Management strategy

Snails are a problem for cropping regions from Esperance to Geraldton. They can contaminate crops, burrow in thick
stubble, and clog equipment during harvest. Here in Mt Barker, a high rainfall region
50 kilometres north of Albany, canola and cereals grower Iain Mackie, has been applying
an integrated snail management program spear-headed by baiting with positive results. Svetlana Micic:
How you going Iain you finding much? No, no not much at all. You looking in the underside of leaves? Yeah yeah. Narrator:
In a project run by WA’s Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, the GRDC
has invested R&D dollars in the management of snails by using baits .
For Iain, it’s a three-pronged attack. Iain Mackie:
We’re going with what we call the 3-B’s bash, burn and bait. So the bash side of things is that we’re knife
rolling, the burning is in regards to we’re header rowing, and burning them in the header
rows or sometimes in the cereal stubbles we’re burning fence to fence, and baiting in regards
to we’re baiting at the correct rates, ‘cos we’re not reducing rates we’re trying to keep
that high rate to get the correct number of baits per square metre. Narrator:
Iain says the approach targets snails where it matters their life cycle. Iain Mackie:
We’re pleased about the results. I suppose we are surprised in how quick it’s
happened because we surmised that being wet seasons that the numbers would have stayed
up higher, but we must have managed to get their life cycles at correct time. Narrator:
An integrated program, which includes early baiting before egg laying, is critical. Svetlana Micic:
Baiting is an essential tool for control, but you can’t rely on it all by itself because
you need to spread the baits evenly for snails to come across them and feed on them. Svetlana Micic:
I’ve actually given up collecting from your crop edge because your practices have dropped
their numbers right down. Svetlana Micic:
So Iain burnt the paddock which caused a massive decrease in snails in the paddock and the
burn stopped at the fence line. On the other side of the fence he hasn’t burnt
but what he has done is actually implemented weed control strategies, decreased the number
of broad leaf weeds outside the fence line and that’s also caused a decrease in snail
numbers. Narrator:
The research shows Autumn is the optimum time to begin baiting and then conclude the baiting
program at least 8 weeks before harvest. Iain Mackie:
So we’re applying baits with a spreader straight behind seeding where they’ve got no other
thing to eat, we’re using a water-resistant bait so they can actually stay there for a
long time. Narrator:
Iain says snail control is a prolonged and integrated strategy. Iain Mackie:
I’m not a fan of using one thing for too long, so if we can reduce the number of baits we
use by hopefully zoning it, by good monitoring, we can hopefully target the hotspots. Svetlana Micic
If you do have snails you need to look at management. Iain has not eradicated snails but he has
definitely dropped their numbers right down, so they will not be a problem. Iain Mackie:
Speak to the experts, find out what’s successful in your area, try it, if it doesn’t work try
something else, it’s better than nothing.

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