Slug management guide

A new guide helping farmers and agronomists approach slug management from an entirely different perspective was launched at The CropTec Show this morning.

Strategies Leading to Improved Management and Enhanced Resilience Against Slugs (SLIMERS) is a three-year £2.6m research project involving over 100 UK farms and six industry partners, funded by Defra’s Farming Innovation Programme which is delivered by Innovate UK.

The UK’s biggest ever farmer-led slug-monitoring project is currently underway, and it represents the culmination of a series of experiments which have been conducted over the past eight years to determine if patch location forecasting is possible and if it could help reduce the industry’s reliance on slug pellets, in an economically viable way.

The new SLIMERS Patch-treatment Guide provides an overview of the research so far and shares practical tips regarding how and why slugs gather in patches.

“With a dramatically depleted toolbox for treating slugs and continued pressure for responsible use of the last remaining chemical option – ferric phosphate pellets -, there is growing interest in the potential for targeting pellet applications just to hotspot areas,” says Professor Keith Walters, Professor of Invertebrate Biology and Integrated Pest Management at Harper Adams University.

“Doing so could deliver benefits to both the environment, wildlife and the bottom line. However, only applying pellets to certain parts of a field, or more importantly, leaving some areas of the crop untreated, is understandably a big leap of faith for farmers. They need utmost confidence in the science behind it to ensure crops are not being exposed to unnecessary risk.”

The new SLIMERS guide explores some of the latest research into slug behaviour to help farmers understand how this scientific knowledge could be used to develop a cost-effective way of patch treating slugs on farms in the future.

“There has never been a guide like this,” says project lead and founder of the British On-farm Innovation Network, Tom Allen-Stevens. “The work of Professor Walters and his team at Harper Adams University has been summarised in a unique and valuable guide that sheds a light on slug behaviour so that farmers can consider how the patch-pelleting approach could work for them in the future.”

Copies of the guide are available at and has also been published on the Slug Circle – a platform and knowledge exchange hub designed to facilitate discussion, idea sharing and tips for best practice when it comes to slug management.

More information about the project, including links to project partners and research initiatives that underpin the project can be found at


Notes to editors

  • Strategies Leading to Improved Management and Enhanced Resilience Against Slugs (SLIMERS) is a three-year £2.6M research programme involving more than 100 UK farms and six partners.
  • The project aims are to develop two commercial services from current proof-of-concept technologies: patch prediction and precision mapping, and autonomous slug treatment using nematodes.
  • The project is steered by science, guided by robots and proven by real farm enterprises, with the potential to make a significant difference to slug control strategies, with slug damage currently estimated to cost £43.5M a year.
  • BOFIN (British On-Farm Innovation Network) leads the consortium – alongside technical lead, CHAP – that includes Harper Adams University, John Innes Centre, Agrivation and Small Robot Company.
  • SLIMERS is funded by the Small R&D Partnership Projects, part of Defra’s Farming Innovation Programme. Defra are working in partnership with Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, who are delivering the programme. Project number: 10053286
  • Innovate UK is the UK’s national innovation agency. Innovate UK drives productivity and economic growth by supporting businesses to develop and realise the potential of new ideas. It connects businesses to the partners, customers and investors that can help them turn ideas into commercially successful products and services and business growth. More information about Innovate UK can be found at:
  • Farmers are encouraged to join the Slug Circle community, a platform and knowledge exchange hub. For more, visit
  • All press enquiries for SLIMERS should be directed to BOFIN Farmers, or contact Skye Melita (, 07483 238577)

For all on-farm trials press releases click here.

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