“The uncertainty over the future of metaldehyde slug pellets is forcing an era of revolutionary change in slug control,” says Dr Jenna Ross, Innovation Hub Lead at UK AgriTech centre, Crop Health and Protection Limited (CHAP). She is discussing her work at REAP 2019.
“The shift to minimum tillage and direct drilling has already led to a surge of farmer-led research to find an effective method of controlling slugs. It is important that scientists work with farmers to translate these finding into scientific repeatable outputs for the wider community.
“Farmers and growers are having to move away from traditional chemical molluscicides and consider alternative control strategies. This includes integrated pest management and driving research in areas such as real-time monitoring systems and robotics”.
“There is also fantastic scope to make the option of nematode bio-molluscicides more cost effective by utilising precision application, developing technologies to improve water usage, formulation and shelf life, as well as having an increased understanding of soil health”.
“Slugs and snails don’t just pose a threat to crops. They have the ability to act as intermediate hosts for a number of parasites, which can pose a health risk to humans as well as animals. The slug fauna of the UK is constantly evolving and it is important that appropriate protocols are put in place to prevent future arrivals of high-risk invaders, not just to protect biosecurity, but to protect human and animal health too.”
Jenna Ross is Innovation Hub Lead at Crop Health and Protection Ltd, Fellow at the University of Aberdeen, PhD Supervisor at Stellenbosch University, 2018 Nuffield Farming Scholar, LANTRA Industry Champion, STEM ambassador and Secretary of Nuffield Scotland. She is also a scientific journalist and recently completed an MBA at Robert Gordon University. As such, Jenna was selected as one of the top five highest achieving MBA graduate in the world by the Association of MBAs.