No. 8 Article 6/May 14, 2004

Slugs in No-Till

Slugs are not really something that comes to mind when I think of spring insect problems. Maybe that's because they're not insects but mollusks. Or maybe it's because we truly don't find slug problems on a regular basis.

Slugs are sporadic pests of corn. In fact, they are generally associated with conservation tillage practices such as no-till. Undisturbed soil allows population densities of slugs to increase. Injury is most often seen when cool and wet conditions exist. Planting into wet soils may also increase the potential for slug injury. Seed furrows may not completely close when planting in wet conditions, leaving the furrow open for slugs to feed on germinating seeds. When slugs destroy seeds, severe stand loss may occur. Slugs are also defoliators, feeding on young, whorl-stage corn plants, resulting in stand loss or altered plant development.

Slug damage in no-till field.

--Kelly Cook

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