Slug invasions: cover crops, establishment methods or environmental conditions?
Slugs are a common problem globally and are responsible for a large proportion of plant damage. The increasing trend towards warmer and wetter weather has increased the importance of slugs as crop pests over the last thirty years. Growing oilseed rape within a farm rotation has been found to increase slug populations; and brassica cover crops have also been surmised to do the same. Investigation of slug populations has been carried out over the last two years as part of an assessment of cover crops and their legacy effects. Over three separate trials the prevalence of slugs has varied greatly. Larger slug numbers have been associated with different cultivation methods more than with different cover crops. Overall, economically damaging slug problems usually occur when there is a "perfect storm" of environmental conditions and cropping systems aligning, understanding these interactions will aid the implementation of integrated farm management.