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While there are many benefits to long-term no-till and cover cropping, unfortunately, it is also a very stable environment for slugs and voles.
As former NRCS Regional Soil Health Specialist Jim Hoorman explained in a presentation at the 2021 National No-Tillage Conference, slugs like high humidity, low winds, and fields with surface residue and green food. Voles thrive under tall cover crops that protect them from predators and prefer to eat grasses, seeds and high-protein plants.
The good news is that no-tillers don’t need to break out the chisel plow to change course — tillage is only about 60% or less effective in controlling these pests, says Hoorman. Instead, there are preventive measures and practice changes you can make to protect your crops.
The level of pests you have will determine how aggressive you need to be.
To scout for slugs, you can put out a shingle, boards or even newspaper under a…