Neil Pratt of Techniculture, who has been comparing several alternative types of approved pellet, said: "Over the past few years we have favoured TDS as our choice of metaldehyde pellet because it features the same attributes found in methiocarb-based pellets. It means there is no need to revise application timings, but there will be instances where we have to respect a watercourse and in such circumstances I advise switching to ferric phosphate-based pellets."
He also advised: "It's important to match pellet choice to situation. Durability and ballistic performance are the principal considerations - these attributes determine how consistently the pellet spreads and how long it persists in the field."
Pellets must also be palatable to ensure slugs do not become "bait-shy", he added. "In practice this means using a pellet made from durum wheat. Fortunately this flour is often finer, giving a pellet with a tighter surface texture which can withstand weather pressure for longer."
Application timing is important and Pratt advises growers to take any opportunity to control slugs in stubbles in the late summer to early autumn. "Ensuring the first application is on before the canopy is complete is fundamental to achieving control, as once the canopy meets it is difficult to reach the soil below," he said.