Farming…It’s more about Slugs than Glamour

First of all I would like to thank all our service men & women!  I know I’m a day late for Veterans Day, but I would like to say “Thank You!” just the same…

Farming is dirty, it’s messy, truth be told most of the time it’s rather grimy.  But never did I think about some of the jobs being somewhat, well, very disgusting.  During the winter months we have a pest that has seems to creep up more and more as the years go by.  They start about 18 inches in the ground and slowly slime their way up when they get hungry.  Once they get to the top and see the beautiful night sky they start to eat, and eat, and eat.  They eat so much that if they happen to find themselves in a sweet tasting baby grass field, they can eat 5 acres in a night, with nothing slowing them down.

One of my more disgusting jobs on the farm…finding and killing slugs.  Now these guys aren’t your typical household banana slugs roaming around out there.  They are smaller, faster, love to reproduce type of slugs.  Not these guys…

Our slug issues look more like this…

Yes, grossly enough those are tiny little slugs, all gathered around getting a late night snack from some blue colored bait.  Thousands…we have thousands of these little guys, an they can be extremely destructive to our grass fields.  Here are a few slimy facts about the grey field slug…

1. You can have up to 1/2 million per acre!

2. In a field that is high in population they can eat several tons of organic matter per month.

3. They lay up to 500 eggs in their 2 year lifespan.

4. They hatch new eggs every 2-3 weeks.

5. They can move up to 30 feet in one night.

Here are some pictures of a field that I decided to spray with liquid bait just the other day.  I decided this because of all the slugs that I found crowded around the bait station (pictured above) and also because the field was look pretty weak in certain areas.  Below you will see what I mean by weak…

Pretty good part of the field, very green!

Still green, but more brown areas that have been eaten down.

Not sure if this part of the field will even come back for harvest this summer.

So as you can see, those slimy buggers that might just seem annoying to a homeowner with a garden or flowers, they are a huge threat and have to be monitored constantly this time of year.  Not just to save this year’s crop, but also to make sure that the numbers don’t get up to a half million per acre in the years to come.  Also one of our best defenses to this problem is tillage, a reason why no tillage or minimum tillage has become a tough thing to do in our area.

And to all of you who are going to suggest putting beer out in our fields…we don’t do it, alcohol abuse hello!! 🙂

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