Collaboration in Action: Grower Groups Address Southern Ag Snail and Slug Issue

In June this year, seven grower groups across the Great Southern Agricultural region decided to collaborate to address snail and slug problems on farm. Led by Stirlings to Coast Farmers group, the Snails and Slugs Taskforce have hit the ground running with new funding from GRDC, COGGO and Royalties for Regions R&D Fund to develop new strategies to tackle the growing problem of small pointed conical snails and slugs.

Small conical snails (Prietocella barbara) are a relatively new and emerging problem on the South Coast. The Taskforce has been formed to coordinate research efforts across the regions to delay and minimise their impact through the development of new control and mitigation strategies. Black keeled slugs (Milax gagates) also cause significant crop losses in some areas, especially in canola, which result in lower yields and significant income loss.
  
Specific activities of the taskforce are to:

  1. Establish collaboration and coordinate research efforts across grower regions.
  2. Design, research and conduct on-farm trials related to snail mitigation across the Albany and Esperance Port Zones.
  3. Produce a best practice manual about snail and slug control that contains scientific research findings and also reflects farmer’s experience in controlling snails and slugs across the Albany and Esperance port zones.
  4. Provide resources to grower groups to provide information, workshops, field walks and other extension activities to educate growers about snail and slug mitigation strategies on farm.

 

The taskforce members include the Executive Officers of Stirlings to Coast Farmers, Fitzgerald Biosphere Group, Gillamii Centre, RAIN, SEPWA, Southern DIRT, and North Stirlings Pallinup Natural Resources.  Additional members include DAFWA entomologist Svetlana Micic and representatives from CBH.

Working as a team, the Taskforce will distribute resources for growers across the Great Southern Ag region about how to reduce the numbers of snails and slugs during the 2016 harvest, and how to undertake more effective snail mitigation work before and after seeding in 2017. The taskforce is currently circulating a survey on snail and slug baiting practices in the Albany port zone to help inform research design. Stirlings to Coast Farmers have also purchased a snail roller from South Australia that will be demonstrated at their Spring Field Day on 22 September at South Stirlings. The snail roller has not been trialed in WA before and will be made available to grower groups for demonstrations through the Taskforce. 

The close collaboration between the groups, DAFWA and CBH in forming the Taskforce means that growers will be able to influence research design through the taskforce and able to more quickly adopt research outcomes and knowledge. 

For more information contact Stirlings to Coast Farmers Project Officer, Kathi McDonald, T: 0408 418 531, E: kathi.mcdonald@scfarmers.org.au.