There have been major changes since Alkaline Soils first event the “Stalking Snails Day” in 2000.
Major breakthroughs in snail management have included;
- greater understanding of snail species and snail behaviour
- use of summer treatments to reduce snail numbers
- earlier baiting to control snails before egg laying, including “baiting before moisture events”
- knowledge of bait degradation due to UV light in the Summer Autumn period
- improved harvest and grain cleaning technologies and practices
However snails have continued to spread across SA and snails were a major problem in Southern Australia in 2010- 11.
After comparing weather patterns and snail populations since 2000, and also studying SYP farmer Mark Bennett’s 2010 snail control practices. It became obvious there is an opportunity to improve snail control through better monitoring of February March snail movement. Mark baits snails as soon as he sees snail slime on bare soil areas, eg. around gateways.
In 2010 there was significant rainfall on February 18th & 19th , March 8th and March 19th to 21st . Significantly better snail control was achieved in areas that Mark baited within a few days of the 19th of March rain.
I am currently working with SARDI, SA Uni and YPASG to monitor snail behaviour 24 / 7 using remote time lapse cameras.
2013 Remote Sensing Project Observations
Following a hot dry summer White Italian snails were observed mating at Wild Dog Hill road Warooka on March 27 and March 30 during very light showers of rain.
Snails were active at Warooka during late March early April, moving about one metre, coming across bait with minimum moisture eg light drizzle, overnight fogs and dews. Snails moved from two to three metres during and following the April 21 rain event.
White Italian snails began egg laying at Warooka on Sunday 21st of April during a 12 mm rainfall event and continued to lay eggs during subsequent moisture events. White Italian snail egg clusters were smaller than usual and egg laying stopped when they reached dry soil during the April 21 egg laying.
Conical snails were observed mating a fortnight later than the White Italian snails.
Pick an area with high snail numbers and monitor snail movement over the February to May period to optimise snail control. Do not assume snails are idle because you do not see them moving during daylight hours.
Suggested techniques to try.
- Use two different colour pressure pack paints to mark snails in two small areas ie on summer weeds, area of stubble or fence post and regularly check if they have moved
- Apply a light rate of bait to a small area and use different colours to mark snails at; 0.5 & 1.5 metres from the bait and check every few days if snails are around the bait
- Look for snail slime on bare soil areas eg in gateways adjacent to roadsides or areas where there are higher snail numbers
- Squash snails to see if they are pasty or moist & ese a torch to monitor snail movement before sun rise
- Register for SA snail alerts. Email your; Name, Location, Mobile number or Email to your nearest Grower Group or Michael Richards Email; firstname.lastname@example.org Mobile; 0427 547 052
- Join the On Farm Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/113788338706121/ for regular updates, pics & video clips on snail behaviour & farming news
- Check for snail updates on the YPASG Website www.alkalinesoils.com.au