Farmers Use Ducks To Eliminate Pests Naturally

Ducks are a species that descends from the mallard and that were domesticated in southern China, since then they have been completely valuable animals for food for a large part of the Asian population.

In fact, the importance of ducks has not only served for their breeding and subsequent consumption, they have also been used to eliminate pests and rice husks from crop fields, thus reducing the cost of feeding them.

This technique is very old, since its first practice was documented in China about 600 years ago, and it is known as integrated cultivation of rice and ducks. Although the peasants took great advantage of it, when synthetic nitrogenous fertilizers and chemical pesticides came on the market they began to use them instead of ducks.

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According to the newspaper El País , a flock of 10,000 ducks arrives in Thai rice fields to devour pests, such as snails that hide in the rice stubble, this form of duck is known as ped lai thoong .

For example, Khaki Campbell ducks are a British breed that spend 20 days in the nursery before being taken out into the fields. According to his breeder Apiwat Chalermiklin, this process is beneficial as it reduces costs at all stages.

Ducks seem to be adept at finding many pests, such as snails and insects, which happen to be their food while they do a job. Chalermiklin has four flocks of ducks that move through different rice fields in Nakhon Pathom province, where farmers typically grow three crops of rice each year. In addition, ducks also tread on rice stubble to flatten the soil for easier plowing.

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For now, the other farmers agree that the system works for them and the savings have been significant. In fact, it has done so well for Thailand that it is the world’s second largest rice exporter and needs to keep its fields free of pests.

The technique used is completely sustainable as it helps reduce the use of chemicals and pesticides, making the army of ducks move as one, almost instinctively and synchronized, these valuable animals are a vital part of rice fields.

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