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Agency puts its foot down in Sweden's battle with killer slugs

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Agency puts its foot down in Sweden's battle with killer slugs
07:39 CEST+02:00
Agriculture authorities in Sweden are setting up battle stations in the country's continuing struggle to fight off killer slugs.

This year, the Swedish Board of Agriculture (Jordbruksverket) has set aside 500,000 kronor ($63,000) in an effort to get control over the situation.

Officials are hopeful that they will finally get an answer to the question of how to reduce the number of killer slugs, also known as Spanish slugs (Arion Lusitanicus).

“Today we don't have enough knowledge about what dose is necessary to combat the slugs or if the substance used has a strong enough effect,” said Eva Mellqvist of the agency's Plant Protection Division, to the TT news agency.

The killer slugs mainly affect farmers in Halland and Bohuslän near Sweden's west coast, but recreational vegetable growers also have trouble with the slugs.

The Agriculture Board is participating in one project which examines different silage harvesting methods to see how they affect the number of slugs in the fodder.

Another project involves looking into the effects of the iron phosphate pesticide Ferramol in mixed-grass pastures.

A third project will attempt to uncover what aids the slugs' survival and reproduction.

When asked about predictions for the scope of this year's killer slug infestation, Mellqvist said a lot depends on the weather.

“I don't think it will be like 2007. Then there were a huge number of slugs following all the spring rains,” she explained.

“As long as there isn't any more rain [it shouldn't be as bad this year].”

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