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Slug Pellets - Metaldehyde best Practice Advice. Metaldehyde Stewardship Group. Used responsibly, and in accordance with the product label, pesticides present minimal risk to the environment and the supply of clean water

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Slug Pellets - Metaldehyde best Practice Advice

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Slug Pellets - Metaldehyde best Practice Advice

Metaldehyde Stewardship Group

Used responsibly, and in accordance with the product label, pesticides present minimal risk to the environment and the supply of clean water

In 2007 metaldehyde was detected for the first time in raw surface water supplies

Everyone handling slug pellets should follow current ‘BEST PRACTICE’ advice

Slug Pellets are pesticides – Keep pesticides out of water

If weather and ground conditions prevent spraying there is a temptation to go pelleting instead. DON’T DO IT. If you cannot spray don’t apply pellets

Affix ‘Best Practice advice to your applicator

Only apply pellets in conditions that you would spray in

All users of slug pellets must, by law, have received adequate training and guidance in correct use

They must hold a certificate of competence (PA1 & PA4) if they:

Were born after 31 December 1964

Are providing a commercial service

Holders of PA1 and PA2 issued before 1 June 1994 are certificated to apply slug pellets

Holders of PA1 and PA2 issued after 1 June 1994 need to complete a PA4

Anyone applying slug pellets must be trained

Key factors:

Pellet characteristics: density, size and flowability

Spreader settings: flow rate, spread width, forwards speed, pellet type

Slug pellets and applicators differ greatly.

Calibrate applicators every time one or more of the above factors changes

Calibrate your applicator

  • Slug pellets should be applied at the correct rate, ensuring uniform distribution

What is the spread width of your applicator?

Varies according to:

Disc speed, product type, size of pellet, shape, density as well as wind speed and direction and terrain

Stop pellets being applied directly to ditches and other surface water bodies

Use deflector plates on headlands if available

Turn applicator off when turning on headlands

Use 2 or 3 bout headlands to avoid throwing pellets back into watercourses when starting a field bout.

Know you applicator spread width

Test bait to assess slug pressure

  • Test bait (trapping) to assess whether treatment with slug pellets is necessary

    • Place chicken layers mash under trap and count slug numbers the following morning.


  • Risk thresholds:

    • Winter wheat : 4 or more slugs

    • Winter OSR: 4 or more slugs in previous standing crop or >1 in stubble

Heavy rainfall may cause surface runoff which could wash pellets off the soil surface into the receiving watercourse

Manage soil to reduce risk of runoff

Establish crop and tramlines across the slope

Follow VI advice

Do not apply slug pellets if heavy rain is imminent

Whenever possible fill the hopper in the field,

Avoid field gateways and other areas where runoff is likely

Avoid filling in the farmyard

Runoff is likely to drain directly to surface water

The risk of spillage while travelling to the field also increases

Ensure the shutter is closed and fill over a plastic sheet

Seal up any part used bags

Bags in use must remain on site or be locked away

Fill hoppers in the field

Take care while filling the applicator to avoid spillages

Fill over a plastic sheet

Spilt pellets should be cleaned up IMMEDIATELY

Place into the hopper for spreading at the approved rate

Ensure the risks to wildlife from spilt pellets are kept to a minimum

Use appropriate PPE when handling pellets

Clear up spills immediately – no matter how small

Check the equipment manufacturer’s recommendations for cleaning

Use a brush to remove pellets and dust, take care if using pressure hoses

The applicator should be cleaned in the field

Avoids pellets, dust and soil contaminating watercourses

The hopper should be emptied and the remaining pellets placed in a sealed bag

Clean applicator after each days use

Ensure all cleaning activities take place away from watercourses (>10m)

Avoid areas of the field where runoff is more likely e.g. gateways

If more thorough cleaning is required in the farmyard use a dedicated, impermeable pesticide handling area, with a sealed drainage system

Treat contaminated runoff:


Licensed Specialist Waste Contractor

Store pellet applicator undercover when not in use

Do not contaminate drains or watercourses when cleaning applicator

Any spilt pellets that cannot be spread to land MUST be disposed of via Licensed Waste Contractor

All packaging should be emptied thoroughly with all residues spread as pellets

Waste packaging and contaminated PPE should be disposed of via Licensed Waste Contractor

Disposal of waste and packaging

The Metaldehyde Stewardship Group (MSG) comprises of Lonza (the principal manufacturer of the active ingredient) and slug pellet formulators Barclay Crop Protection, Certis, Chiltern Farm Chemicals, De Sangosse, Doff Portland and Makhteshim Agan.

The aim of the group is to promote and encourage best practice use of metaldehyde slug pellets in agriculture, minimise environmental impact and in particular protect water.

The Metaldehyde Stewardship Group (MSG)

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