Slugs could be harming crop fields

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HARDEMAN COUNTY, Tenn. — Our days and days of rain not only brought high waters for farmers, but an invasion of slugs. “We always have slugs to some level every year and slugs like, many people probably know, tend to be more when it’s wet and we’re having a wet year,” said Scott Stewart, an entomologist at the UT Ag. Extension office. But for some farmers, slugs are taking over and leaving damage behind. Experts said it is the amount that can be troublesome since there is not a way to control slugs. “Frankly there’s not very many of them. We can’t spray an insecticide,” Stewart said. Slugs cause damage by eating on plant roots, stems and leaves and can lead to crops dying. Andy Rowsey, an agronomist for the Mid-South CO-OP, said the amount of slugs has definitely raised some eyebrows this season. “If we see this problem is, it’s a lot smaller, and less severe amount of damage, a lot smaller area,” he said. Fortunately his farmer has had less than one percent of his cropped damaged, so far. “Just having dryer weather and change in environment because with the wet weather we’ve had it’s been a perfect environment for, the slugs.” Rowsey said it is still early enough that fields can be replanted, if the slugs do too much damage but it is a strange obstacle to deal with. “Kinda an unusual occurrence. I don’t think it’s anything to sound the alarm about, just be something to watch for.”

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