Wet conditions like we’ve seen in the southeast can lead to an outbreak of slugs, an unwanted pest for fresh vegetable growers.
Dr. Ayanava Majumdar is an Alabama extension professor in the department of entomology and plant pathology at Auburn University.
Majumdar… “Slugs typically hide in the ground under organic matter. So if you have a lot of residue on the top of your soil, these slugs, and even snails, they will hide ready under that and feed off the organic matter. Then when it rains, they are basically flushed out and they will start to go up on the plants. Even if they don't consume plant matter, they're enough of a contaminant, and a major food safety issue for us as producers.”
Many crops have zero tolerance for slug contamination.
Majunmdar…”And just their presence with the slime that they produce. I mean, if you just imagine taking a cabbage head with a slug inside at a farmer's market. So that's how sensitive we are, and that's how important it is to kind of manage slugs, which is a challenge.”
Dr. Majumdar says farmers should proactively manage slug issues by adjusting irrigation schedules with changing weather patterns, managing residues, and consider investing in soil moisture sensors.