Black slug feeds on clover leavesA black slug feeds on clover leaves.

Issues concerning re-registration of Deadline MPs with the EPA means the product's availability may be in short supply, even if it can be found, Ohio State University says.

As we get into May, a reminder is in order about possible slug problems in no-till crops, especially in fields with a history of slug issues. 

Although we do not know how numerous slugs are in fields, we do know that most crops are being planted later than normal.  If you have read our recommendations for slug management, you know that one way a grower can get a head start is to plant early, and get their crop out of the soil and growing before slugs begin their heaviest feeding.

However, with the weather conditions over the past month, fields are just now being planted.  Slugs have been hatching and beginning to grow; this will result in many fields just germinating or emerging when slugs start to feed.

This combination of feeding slugs and small plants can result in much more plant injury that normal.  Thus, growers with a history of slug problems and just now planting into those fields should watch their crops much more closely over the next few weeks to prevent undue damage.

If a molluscicide bait application becomes necessary, there are two situations that growers need to be aware of. It is unclear how available Deadline MPs will be this spring. There are some issues concerning its re-registration on corn and soybean by the EPA that might make it in short supply if it can even be found. Our hope is that the issue can be resolved by 2014. At this time, all we know is it might be difficult to obtain if even possible.

However, the other side of the coin is that there is a new molluscicide that is available that could offer good control.  In the past, we have discussed Sluggo, an iron phosphate bait that has been around for a few years. However, we never felt that the material was as good as Deadline MPs.

There is a new product similar to Sluggo whose active ingredient is a chelated iron (sodium ferric EDTA).Over the past winter we discussed a product containing this chelated material called Ferroxx made by the Deurdoff Co. However, they have brought a slightly different chelated iron product to the eastern US called Iron Fist. The only difference is Ferroxx is a 5% product while Iron Fist is a 2% material, and should be applied at slightly higher rates.

Our information is that Iron Fist should be price comparable with Deadline MPs and thus offer a good alternative. Although we have not yet tested Iron Fist, we have discussed its performance with colleagues from the west coast, from states including California and Oregon. All comments were positive about the product.  Based on what we were told, chelated iron appears to have more efficacy against slugs than the older iron phosphate products.

Thus, growers should consider using Iron Fist if slug control is needed, perhaps a greater consideration if Deadline MPs is unavailable. We've been told that although most dealers would not have any product on hand, that it should be available within a few days as it would only be coming from western Pennsylvania. Following any use of Iron Fist, we would like to hear how well it worked.