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Using Ducks for Low-Cost Weed Management

By goGreen | October 29, 2011
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The use of ducks can complement other weed management practices in rice paddies where straight row planting is used. When the crop reaches 20 cm in height (approximately 25 days after transplanting) until the booting stage, the ducks can be allowed into the rice paddy without damaging the crop. Forty to fifty (40-50) adult ducks feeding for 3 hours a day for 3 consecutive days can weed a 1,000 sq.m area. Any species can be used but Mallard ducks (Anas platyrhynchos) are most recommended because they are more active and have light and narrow bodies.

PROCEDURE

1. Irrigate the field to a depth of 3 cm (ducks will not enter the rice paddy field without water). To encourage them to enter, broadcast a handful of rough rice into the paddy.


Irrigate the field

2. The constant dabbling or feeding and trampling by the web-footed ducks make the soil soft and muddy and inhibit the growth of weeds and at the same time incorporate weeds growing in between the rows of rice.


Dabbling

3. Broadleaf weeds and sedges are eaten by the ducks. Insects (e.g. moths or stemborers, hoppers, mole crickets, etc.) and golden snails which are found at the base of the rice crop are also eaten, thereby reducing pest populations.

SOURCE: Low-external Input Rice Production (IIRR, 292 p.)

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