Comparative Study of Cuban Slugs (Veronicella cubensis) Suppression Using Grazing Ducks, Neem (Azadirachia indica) Extract and Chemical Baits in the CNMI
The Cuban slug (Veronicella cubensis) has recently risen in prominence as an agricultural, ornamental and nuisance pest on the island of Rota, Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands (CNMI). This study examines and demonstrates the most effective suppressing practice to V. cubensis during testing of three available management practices in field demonstrations. Cuban slug suppression using predatory ducks, use of Neem plant (Azadirachta indica)extract, and use of chemical slug baits.
To date, the project is on the stage of completing its activities in gathering all materials and supplies needed to establish the trials and monitoring sites. The procurement of slug baits took a while due to unavailability of local vendor; it has to be ordered from San Diego California. Each producer in each practice has started preparing their field for the project. Meanwhile, Maria Fujihira has stopped her farming operations due to her added household responsibilities. She will be replaced by another vegetable grower Mr. Edel Depalog & Mr. Brian Richards his address: PO Box 842, Rota, MP 96951, Telephone # 670 – 532 3335 whose farm lot is located adjacent to Mrs. Maria Fujihira’s farm site in Santa Cruz area and share the same pest problems as Mrs. Maria Fujihira had experienced on her farm such as Cuban slugs infestation. These farmers have an acre land of tropical vegetables, and Cuban slugs are one of the major pests causing damage to their farm. He was informed and briefed that there farm will be a source of Neem as organic pesticides for slugs. Neem seedlings are ready to be planted in their farm in two rows within the perimeter 10 ft. apart parallel to each designed for windbreak purpose.
A limited term employee as farm laborer will be hired through this project while processing for approval is ongoing. Mr. and Mrs. Jack Manglona are preparing for the arrival of ducklings shipment from the University of Guam. Construction of brooding cages and fencing of the project site is ongoing. Nurul Islam Paeda has collected thirty (30) wooden pallets to modify as baiting traps for Cuban slugs. A workshop on Cuban slug pest biology and proper use of slugs baits will be conducted to producers and other participants as soon as the completion of the arrival of slug baits and other materials and supplies.
Upon the approval of the project, it was put on the paper found in: http://www.nmcnet.edu/content_news.php?idref=55 , http://www.saipantribune.com/newsstory.aspx?cat=1&newsID=79039 , in the article, it mentioned the Western SARE is the funding source of the project.
NMC CREES Awarded $24K for Slug Control Project on Rota (April 16, 2008)
As part of its efforts to study and curb the spread of harmful slugs, the Northern Marianas College Cooperative Research Extension and Education Service (NMC-CREES) recently secured a grant totaling $23,673 from the Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (WSARE) Program.
Entitled “Comparative Study of Cuban Slugs Suppression Using Grazing Ducks, Neem Extracts and Chemical Baits in the CNMI,” the project aims to explore and demonstrate cost-effective, environmentally-friendly, and sustainable alternative practices to slug and pest control in vegetable production.
The project is led by Alejandro E. Badilles, NMC-CREES Integrated Pest Management Coordinator for the CNMI. He is joined by three Rota producers that include Nurul Islam Paeda, Jack Manglona and Maria Fujihira.
According to Badilles, the agricultural losses from Cuban slugs on Rota have been substantial, and the costs for appropriate corrective measures prohibitive. Many farmers have already abandoned their fields because of the prevalence of slugs. Additionally, the increasing presence of slugs will continue to threaten Rota’s agricultural viability and image as a nature sanctuary.
“Mr. Badilles’s work will have far-reaching benefits, especially in the preservation of lively, agricultural activity in the CNMI,” said NMC President Dr. Carmen Fernandez. “We are proud of his achievements and those of his team and look forward to his research findings.”
One method that is being examined as a means to slow the spread of slugs is to employ the use of ducks as predators for the slugs. The ducks have not only the advantage of clearing weeds, fertilizing the ground, providing farmers with eggs, but they also eat any slugs and pests that they encounter. Ducks do little damage to crops, and have been used in the Far East for centuries to clear slugs and snails from rice and vegetable fields.
The planting and use of Neem trees will also be used as a means of providing readily available organic pesticides to fight the pests. Researchers have recently been extolling the Neem trees’ benefits, saying that Neem trees could be called wonder trees. This wonder tree has pesticide, germicidal, and medicinal properties and is capable of solving many problems. Therefore, an increased commercial plantation and agro-forestry involving Neem trees can enhance the economical potential of this tree with positive and large externalities for pesticides, fertilizers, livestock, dairying, and other value-added products.
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Junior Colleges and the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association for Schools and Colleges.
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
Dr. Carmen Fernandez NMC president was proud of our achievements and happy for this project will have far-reaching benefits, especially in the preservation of lively, agricultural activities in the CNMI and the Pacific Islands in the region.
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