Effects of using ducks as biological control to manage weeds and pests within an orchard crop system

Project Overview

FW22-391
Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2022: $20,442.00
Projected End Date: 06/30/2024
Grant Recipient: Golden Sun Farm & Nursery LLC
Region: Western
State: Oregon
Principal Investigator:
Peng Sun
Golden Sun Farm & Nursery LLC

Commodities

  • Fruits: cherries, grapes
  • Animals: poultry

Practices

  • Pest Management: biological control, weeder geese/poultry
  • Production Systems: integrated crop and livestock systems

    Proposal summary:

    Pests like slugs, snails, insects, and even rodents are a big issue for orchard producers and require big costs to manage. Historically, many cultures have used ducks to reduce pests. However, this is not a commonly used practice in the United States. By using ducks against weeds, slugs, and snails, pests can be used as feed. This reduces chemical and labor costs while increasing profit with the sale of duck and eggs.
    Our proposed project would combine three different breeds; Muscovy, Khaki Campbell, and Indian Runner. Areas of the orchard will be sectioned and include areas with ducks as biocontrol and control areas managed conventionally. Costs and returns will be measured for each treatment to evaluate economic and environmental sustainability. Sustainability is a must in these modern times with the immediate threat of climate change. This research will help farmers provide quality food to local communities while reducing fossil fuel use, labor and chemical costs, pollution to soil and water, and their impact on the environment.
    This project is in cooperation with Oregon State University's Small Farms Program and includes having technical advice and outreach capabilities. The proposed outreach plan includes an Extension article, two on-farm tours, and a presentation at a small farm workshop. Additionally, we plan to create video content and infographics to disseminate the information through multiple farmer networks and channels.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    The objectives for this proposed study include:

    1. Examine the effectiveness of ducks as weed and pest control in an orchard crop system.
    2. Assess the economic and environmental sustainability of using ducks as biocontrol within an orchard crop system.
    3. Identify the number of ducks per acre that can control pests to the desired level while maintaining the lowest input cost.
    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.