Growers are advised they can minimise the chances of snail contamination of grain by adjusting the timing of their harvesting operations.
Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) entomologist Svetlana Micic said small pointed (conical) snails (Prietocella barbara (L.)), which were the most common snail variety in Western Australia, were more likely than other species to be found intact in harvested grain.
Ms Micic, who leads snail research in WA as part of a national Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) investment, said snail contamination could lead to grain being rejected at receival points, requiring grain to be cleaned.
“Two types of snails may be found in paddocks in some areas of WA - small pointed snails and round snails (white Italian and vineyard snails),” she said.
“Harvester modifications are more effective on round rather than small pointed snails and it is important to identify snail species to make appropriate management decisions.”
Ms Micic said round snails were easily dislodged from grain whereas small pointed snails could be found in sheltered locations such as between the leaf and stem and were not easily dislodged from crops by the harvester.
“However, growers can reduce the risk of contamination by adjusting the timing of harvest in high-risk paddocks,” Ms Micic said.
“As temperatures increase, round snails are more likely to climb up onto crops whereas small pointed snails are more likely to seek shelter where it is cooler, including underneath stubble.
“Harvesting at the hottest time of the day will decrease contamination from small pointed snails.
“However, under cooler conditions, round snails are more likely to climb down from crops whereas small pointed snails are more active and have been observed moving over crops.
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