Slug pellet products have different ballistic properties which, along with weather
conditions, can have a dramatic impact on how they spread.
Cheaper, dry processed wheatbased pellets can vary greatly in size, may be prone to breakage and they may have a lower bulk density, making it more difficult to get an accurate spread pattern, and to widths greater than 18 metres.
Conversely, premium wet processed pasta-based pellets – such as Sluxx HP and Ironmaxx – have a higher bulk density and are said to be more even in size and less prone to breakage, so offer a more uniform spread to greater widths.
Rob Foxall, of SCS, says farmers often think their applicator is accurately spreading to 24m, but after a tray test find it is only reaching 16-18m and leaving strips with suboptimal baiting points.
This shows it is advantageous for molluscicide users to seek advice on the allistics of a product and ensure it is able to meet the farm’s spreading requirements.
Many pellet manufacturers have trialled their products to show how they behave through spreaders, checking what widths they can be spread to with an acceptable pattern, for example.
Getting this advice is particularly important when attempting to spread to widths of 32-36m, where the spread pattern of some pellets can fall away with the wrong applicator and setup.
Experts advise that when switching products, or from standard sized pellets to minis or vice versa, a calibration for application rate is carried out to cater for the different product’s flow through the applicator.
It is also advisable to carry out a full width tray test to ensure bout width is suitable for the pellets being applied.
Mini pellets offer growers the ability to achieve a high number of bait points with lower rates when pest pressure is lower, helping cut slug control costs but there is a concern they don’t spread as far as standard sized pellets. However, work by SCS has shown a Stocks Ag Fanjet Duo setup, calibrated correctly, spreads Menorexx minis up to 24m as accurately and evenly as the standard sized Sluxx HP and a similar competitor product.
SCS says although some manufacturers have updated designs to allow a single disc machine to spread to 24m, trials show a twin applicator is a better option for spread pattern.