Duck power

Philippe Mesmer, writing at Guardian Environment:

On his six-hectare farm in the village of Keisen, on Japan’s Kyushu island, Takao Furuno, 61, grows rice and wheat without chemicals.

He rediscovered an ancient rice-growing practice involving the use of ducks. Dozens of these birds, raised on the farm, patrol the paddy fields. They feed on insects and weeds, without touching the plants. Their wading oxygenates the water and stirs up the soil. Their droppings are a natural fertiliser.

Production is up, costs are down. Furuno even wrote a book on his experiment, The Power of Duck. Such integrated pest management practices may not work on big, industrial farms, but they may help smaller farms in developing countries.

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