All India Network Project on Vertebrate Pest Management

Central Arid Zone Research Institute, Light Industrial Area, Jodhpur

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A. Rodent Control

  • Lesser bandicoot rat, Bandicota bengalensis was the most predominant rodent pest species infesting various cropping systems in all the major agro-ecological regions of the country. In Himachal Pradesh too, B. bengalensis was found to predominantly inhabit all the agro-climatic zones up to 2500 MSL. In Eastern and Southern dry zones of Karnataka, North-western arid zone of Gujarat and Western Punjab, Tatera indica was the predominant pest species. Indian desert gerbil, Meriones hurrianae occupied the predominant position in rain fed crops, grass lands, forestry plantations etc in Western Rajasthan. Similarly Rattus rattus wroughtoni proved to be a serious threat to coconut and other plantation crops in Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Karnataka. A species complex of B. bengalensis- Rattus meltada/ T. indica -Mus booduga was the most common rodent pest composition in the irrigated cropping system of the country.
  • Four species viz., Niviventer niviventer, N. fluvescens, Rattus sikkimensis and R .nitidus were identified as problem species showing upsurge in their population synchronizing with bamboo flowering in NEH region. Two squirrel species, Calloscirrus spand Dremnomys lokriah were reported to be major problem species in fruit crops in Assam. Monitoring of rodent problem in NEH revealed population upsurge in parts of Manipur and Assam in 2003-04 and in Arunachal Pradesh in 2004-05 due to mass flowering of bamboos.
  • Four new rodent species viz., Little Mus booduga, Rattus tanezumi andamanensis, Cremnomys cutchicus and Bandicota bengalensis reported from Andaman and Nicobar islands for the first time. Bandicota bengalensis also reported to spread in newer biomes like arid zones and far NEH regions. Effect of land use changes and urbanization showed replacement of xeric fauna in arid regions.
  • Studies on population ecology and biology of B. bengalensis in arid zone showed peak breeding during monsoon with a litter size of 6-8. In Godavari delta region the species showed a seasonal productivity up to 70.4 (kharif) and 30.3/female (rabi) in rice fields. The bandicoots bred 3-4 time in a crop season.
  • Crop damage data in different agro-ecological regions revealed that rice, wheat, sugarcane and ground nut are most vulnerable crops. During 2010-11 these crops suffered 5-15% damage. The plantation crops Coconut (5-8% in Andamans), Pine apple (7-9% in NEH) and cardamom (1.5-12% in Karnataka) also suffered heavily due to rodent depredation. Rodent problem in poly houses and drip pipes were assessed.
  • Neem leaf powder, papaya seeds, castor oil, eucalyptus oil, Pongomia oil, Vitex nuigendi leaf powder, Calotropis latex showed anti rodent properties in feeding trials. Gossypol from crude cotton seed oil, papaya seed powder, root powder of Calotropis etc have shown anti fertility actions of varying degrees. Glucosides of Trypterigium wilfordii also possess male sterilant effects on Rattus rattus. Similarly eucalyptus oil and mint oil have registered repellent actions against commensal rodents.
  • Jojoba seed cake powder (10-20%) recorded a repellency index of up to 90% in Tatera indica.
  • Studies on rodent management in poultry farms were concluded and the significant recommendations of this Project were brought out in form of a Technology Bulletin entitled “Rodent Management in Poultry Farms" for the benefit of poultry farmers.
  • Male urine was found to possess sex pheromonal properties as it was reported to accelerate puberty in females. Vaginal opening was advanced for three weeks. Addition of fresh burrow sand in baits increases the bait acceptance and consumption in bandicoots indicating that urinary pheromones are involved in intra specific communication.
  • Alpha-chlorohydrin, a toxicant cum-male sterilant recorded an LD50 of 82 mg/kg for B. bengalensis. The dead rats were observed to indicate reduced male organs (testes, epididymis) and aspermia in epididymal fluid. The compound showed its good promise as a follow up treatment in sugarcane fields infested by bandicoots. A germ cell mutagen, ethyl methane sulphonate, was reported to cause dose dependant sperm abnormalities in lesser bandicoots and house rats. Similarly epi-chlorohydrin @ 50-100 mg/kg proved an effective male sterilant for lesser bandicoots.
  • Imidazole 5% baiting for 5 days showed sterilant effects on Tatera indica. Similarly Triptolide with LD50 of 181 mg/kg also registered anti fertility effects.  
  • Laboratory and field evaluation of Cholecalciferol, brodifacoum alluminium phosphide were undertaken.
  • IRPM Module for Rice: For Karnataka: Bund management +weed control + zinc phosphide baiting (tillering and maturity stage) and For A.P: Cultural practices+ bromadiolone baiting + burrow smoking with fumigator. PVC bait stations @ 15-20/ha proved effective.
  • Rodent proofing (rat guards) of indigenous storage structures in NEH region developed.
  • In NEH Region four rodent species related to bamboo flowering related out breaks identified. Rodent management involving local bamboo traps (vaithang) and safer rodenticide (bromadiolone) baitings in bamboo made bait stations (two types fabricated) recommended. Many capacity building activities undertaken leading to reduced rodent damage in problem areas.
  • Technical support provided to DAC sponsored National Plan on Rodent Pest Management. Curricula for UG/PG/Trainer farmers and capacity building activities undertaken.
  • Consultancy and advisory services to manufactures of rodenticides and telecom cable/duct, drip pipes etc was rendered.
  • Farmers’ participatory adaptive research was continued at all centres under social engineering activity on rodent control. Under the programme 2-3 villages were adopted and the rodent management technology was demonstrated and transferred to the farmers. The project has been successful in creating awareness in farmers about rodent problem and its management in the adopted villages with a rodent control success ranging between 50-60%.
  • Rodent Management in NEH: Two pronged Action Plans (i) for researchers and (ii) for extension personnels developed during Special Regional Workshop in Mizoram during 2006 was followed by most of NE States.  AINP has actively collaborated with NIPHM, Hyderabad in imparting trainings on Rodent Management in NEH Region. Timely Interventions of ICAR (AINP on Rodent Control) and DAC, the rodent problem in the region was contained to a greater extent. The situation was not as devastating as reported in earlier years. Human resource development activities undertaken by NE states at our initiatives have created immense awareness among extension functionaries and farming community.

Dissemination of information on research and human resource development:

  • Regular On and Off Campus Trainings on Rodent Control were organized by all centers by the Project as well as in association with KVKs, State Departments & other organizations.
  • Apex Level Trainers Trainings on Rodent Control were regularly organized at ANGRAU, Maruteru centre besides collaborating with NIPHM, Hyderabad in such trainings organized at Hyderabad.
  • Technical Bulletins published and publication of “Rodent Newsletter’ was continued.
  • Under National Plan on Rodent Pest Management (sponsored by DAC) AINP on Rodent Control collaborated in (i) Sensitization workshops (ii) Curriculum development workshops and (iii) State Level Trainings for scientists and extension functionaries in A.P., Karnataka, Kerala, Assam and Bihar (iv) 21 days trainings on Vertebrate Pest management at NIPHM, Hyderabad.
  • AINP on Rodent Control organized 02 Meeting of Expert Committee on Rodent Control. Group Meetings of the Project organized every alternate year.

Recommendation for Farmers

    • Groundnut: Double baiting with rodenticides viz., zinc phosphide (2.0%) followed by bromadiolone (0.005%) or vice versa. First baiting at pod formation stage and second at pod maturity stage. The baiting be done @ 10g poison bait per bait point and 100 bait points/ha covering the damage and rodent activity sites. Both these treatments also reduce rodent infestation in surrounding rice crop. Weeds and grasses should also be removed before poison baiting.
    • Lean Periods: Targeted poison baiting with zinc phosphide (2.0%) in the active burrows in the month of May-June be taken up in wastelands/ floor of orchards and rodent runways. After this single poison baiting along with shallow ploughing and removal of weeds in standing crops during August (in kharif) and during February ( in rabi) is also recommended for effective management of rodents in crop fields.
    • Cropping system based recommendations: Poison baiting in sugarcane crops in December-January protects sugarcane crop as well as surrounding wheat crop from rodent damage. In Punjab, rodent damage to rice field is more where it is transplanted near maize crop. Poison baiting with freshly prepared baits of bromadiolone (0.005%) or zinc phosphide (2.0%) in maize crop along with weed control in maize and rice fields should be done during September month at 100 bait points/ha (@ 10g bait/point). It prevents rodent damage to maize and surrounding rice crop.
    • Cumin: Fresh poisonbaits of bromadiolone to be prepared in groundnut oil smeared pearl millet grains (960g pearl millet + 20g oil + 20g bromadioloneconc .for one kg bait) are to be applied in live rodent burrows. Two treatments, one at vegetative growth stage and repeat the same at flowering stage of cumin is recommended in cumin crop – in arid zone
    • Rice and ragi: For effective poison bait delivery to target pests, packetting of baits in paper @ 10-15g /packet and inserting it deep inside the live burrows is more effective than loose baits in rice and ragi fields. Zinc phosphide (2.0%) baiting in burrows at seedling stage in ragi and at seedling and pre-harvest stage in rice is recommended.
    • Sugarcane crop in Punjab, multiple rodenticide treatments are recommended at different stages of the crop vis a vis surrounding crop fields. First rodenticidal treatments should be conducted in the month of July (after paddy transplantation in surrounding fields) and second in the month of October (after paddy harvest in the surrounding fields). During each of these treatments, two rodenticide baitings (first with 2% zinc phosphide or 0.005% bromadiolone bait followed by second baiting with 0.005% bromadiolone bait after 15 days @ 1Kg/ha each) should be conducted. To save the sugarcane crop with delayed harvesting from rodent damage, a third rodenticide treatment should be conducted in the months of December-January with single application of 2% zinc phosphide or 0.005% bromadiolone bait @ 2Kg/ha each.
    • Coconut: Trunk banding, cleaning of crowns and bromadiolone baiting in crowns has been recommended.
    • A Small compact burrow fumigator was designed and developed by AICRP. It involves burning of farm wastes like paddy straw, weeds etc for smoke generation. The smoke is pumped into rodent burrows with the help of a blower. The unit has proved very effective in managing field rodents.

      B. Agricultural Ornithology

      • Out of 1200 spp of birds found in India, 351 spp of birds were identified in agricultural land scape depended for various activities and 32 species of birds were identified as key species affecting different agricultural crops.
      • Crop wise check list of birds were recorded and the overall damage to the crops is very low i.e. <2% of the total production.
      • The incidence of damage under isolated conditions varies significantly with respective to stage of the crop.
      • Spatial distribution of bird roosting sites (Rose ringed parakeet) were mapped in relation to different habitats and cropping pattern in various Agro-Climatic zones. Larger size roosts were predominantly found in rain fed areas due to availability of diversified crops.
      • Mapping of Nesting sites of Cattle egret and other heronries were prepared in various Agro ecological regions in relation to Land use and Land cover.
      • Large scale demonstrations of bird management methods viz reflective ribbon,wrapping fodder maize as screen crop in Maize fields (2 ha) at farmers fields showed significant results and adoption was high among the farmers
      • In paddy ribbon along with Biobird repellent (BBR+) showed good impact in controlling extent of damage by different spp of depredatory birds.
      • Successfully demonstrated use of copper oxy chloride @3g/kg seed to control depredatory birds during sowing / seedling stage in maize and groundnut in different farmer’s fields.
      • In sunflower at different locations successfully evaluated application of whole egg solution @15ml/lt of water in control of rose ringed parakeet damage.
      • Developed and recommended different plant products viz  Andrographis paniculata , Ocimum sanctum , Ipomea carnea ,Neem oil, Annona squamosa, Fortune Azar, as potential repellents.
      • Evaluated the impact of traditional fruit bearing trees and the role of birds in the farm surroundings.
      • For the first time, in propagation of Momordica dioica -  a cucurbitaceae member by 14 species of birds . In laboratory, the seeds found in bird excreta germinated (100%) unlike the seeds harvested manually.
      • Demonstrated successfully in farmer’s field the use of NPV (250 LE/ha) and bird perches (@20/acre) in controlling Helicoverpa armigera in Pigeon pea
      • In Castor, bird perches recommended (@ 20/acre (or) 50 /ha) along with NPV (250 LE /ha) in controlling Helicoverpa armigera& Spodaptera litura
      • In Chickpea (@ 20/acre (or) 50 /ha) along with NPV (250 LE /ha) in controlling Helicoverpa armigera
      • In Groundnut bird perches (@ 20/acre (or) 50 /ha) along with NPV (250 LE /ha) in controlling Helicoverpa armigera& Spodaptera litura
      • For the first time in the country standardized the nest boxes design for cavity nesting birds in controlling insects & Rodent’s pests of various crops.
      • Barn Owl breeding was successfully completed in the specially developed artificial nest boxes at Kerala and Andhra Pradesh.
      • Ecological studies including feeding and breeding biology of 27 species of birds were studied and found variations in relation to the season and habitat (Agricultural landscape)
      • Evaluated avian community at fish farms / aqua farms comprised of 72 spp of birds, of which 14 spp are identified causing damage to the fish & prawns at different stages.
      • Extensive awareness programmes were organized at KVK’s, DAATTC and Dept. of Agriculture (ATMA) about the role of birds in agriculture land scape.
      • Spatial distribution of wild boar in relation to agricultural crops was mapped in Andhra Pradesh and developed potential management methods (Physical Barriers,Biological Barriers, Chemical practices ,Traditional methods) to control wild boar menace in different agriculture crops.
      • Four rows with close spacing of safflower around the ground nut provide full protection from wild boars.
      • Four rows with close spacing of castor around Maize provide full protection from wild boars.
      • Spraying of egg solution @ 20ml per ltr around the crop provides full protection from wild boars.
      • 2ft by 2ft trenches around the crop provides full protection from wild boars in rain fed areas.
      • Erection of GI wire one feet above the crop in rows around the crop provides full provides full protection from wild boars.
      • Conducted 7 days hands on training on GPS/GIS for AICRP plant protection group of ICAR during Feb, 2009 at Hyderabad
      • In collaboration with CCMB Hyderabad bar-coding of agriculturally important birds were documented under DBT project.
      • 6 Projects from lateral funding agencies were under progress during XIth plan.
      • ANGRAU initiated 1 + 1 course in Ph. D programme on vertebrate pest management.
      • Extent of bird damage in different crops:
      • In Cowpea bird damage ranged between 10-30% mostly by rose ringed parakeet. Psittacula krameri, while in bhendi more than 90% damage was observed at Trissure.
      • In maize, the Rose ringed parakeet Psittacula krameri and Common Crow (Corvus splendens) caused damage to the extent of 6-38% in rain fed areas of Andhra Pradesh and while in Assam 14.4% cob damage was observed in the month of April-May.
      • In rice and wheat the damage extent in different growth stages showed less than 5% at PAU Ludhiana, while in Assam,the early maturing rice variety Luit, Kapili during grain filling stage 10 to 30% damaged was caused by Baya weaver and Scaly breasted Munia
      • At KAU, Trissure in rice, the weaver bird caused 15 per cent damage in maturing crop. In direct sown crop, 22 per cent damage had been recorded and in Pokhali rice, the purple moorhen caused 4-5 per cent damage to the rice plants
      • In Bajra, Rose ringed parakeet and Munias caused damage to the extent of 45% while in fruit crops the damage  is caused mostly by Small green barbet Megalaima viridis, Rose ringed Parakeet Psittacula krameri and Common crow Corvus splendens to the extent of 8-22%
      • In Sorghum, the extent of damage by birds ranging from 12-52% mostly by Rose ringed Parakeet (Psittacula krameri) Spotted munia Lonchura panctulata, Baya weaver Ploceus, Philippinus and Black Headed munia Lonchuramalacca
      • A total of 23, 25 and 30 species of birds in wheat, mustard and rice field were observed at different developmental stages during this study period at PAU Ludhiana.
      • Bird roosting sites in different agro-climatic zones revealed that larger size roosts with more than 50,000 birds were predominantly found in rain fed areas due to availability of diversified cropping patterns .The percent distribution of the land cover of the study area revealed that 59% of agricultural area was predominantly used by birds followed by agricultural fallow land (16%) wastelands (8%) and others (17%).
      • At coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh, Identified 23 species of birds causing damage to the Fish / Prawn seedlings to the tune  of 3-11% and the major species includes Dabchicks (Tachybaptus ruficollis), Little kingfisher (Alcedo pusilla), White Breast Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis), pied Kingfisher (Ceryle rudis), While in harvesting stage the incidence of damage was ranges between16-22% and the major species includes Brahminy Kite , Herons and Egrets
      • Eco-friendly bird management practices:
      • The main crop (maize) was fully protected from bird damage by using maize (1848 kg/ha) and sorghum fodder (1558 kg/ha) as border / screen crop, when compared to control (1168 kg/ha) in Andhra Pradesh
      • Seed treatment with copper oxychloride @ 3 g/kg seed in maize during Kharif showed high percent germination (27%) followed by ribbon (26%) and farmers practice (23%) over control. The percent abundance of birds also reduced drastically from 20 to 60 percent. In groundnut also, seed treatment with copper oxychloride showed 62% germination over the control during rabi.
      • During rabi in sorghum among the treatments whole egg solution spray @20ml/lt showed higher yield (3004kg/ha) when compared to control (2194kg/ha) and the percent incidence of rose ringed parakeet was reduced drastically at ARS – Tandur in Andhra Pradesh.
      • In sunflower, among the treatments egg solution @20ml/lt showed higher yield (1409kg/ha) followed by ribbon (1316kg/ha) and Eco-don (1146kg/ha) when compared to control (959kg/ha) in Andhra Pradesh.
      • In captivity among the plant products Ocimum scantum&Annona squamosa @15ml/lt of water showed 100% feeding repellency, while in chemicals Anthronillatet@15ml/lt water showed 30% feeding repellency and egg solution at 5,10 and 15ml/lt water showed significant feeding aversion (72%) of birds
      • Technology demonstration in rice showed that ribbon with egg solution@20ml/lt recorded yield of 2448kg per acre (32 bags) and  recorded the damage to the extent of <5% in the farmers field at Nizamabad district.
      •  Demonstrated bird management methods in Maize fields of farmers at Peddagattu village of Nalgonda district and wrapping and ribbon methods showed higher yields (2432kg/ha) followed by wrapping (2125kg/ha) and ribbon (2048kg/ha) than the control (1798kg/ha).
      • Large scale adoption of bird scare reflective ribbon against Baya Weaver and Streaked weaver in rice (100 ac); seed plots of bhendi (5 ac) , trailing (10 ac) and bush type cow pea (15 ac) were showed significant increase in the yield at KAU, Trissure.
      • At Arunachal Pradesh, among different treatments, no parakeet infestation were recorded in the ribbon + wrapping of cobs (100% reduction in parakeet infestation) and it was on par with installation of ribbon alone with 0.50% infestation (99.10% reduction over control). Wrapping of cob with leaves in the four boundary line showed 23.50% infestation and 57.47 reductions over control.
      • At farmer field in villages Kishangarh (Ludhiana) and Bhaura (Nawanshahar) the screen crop of bajra bordering maize provided total bird protection from House Crows and Parakeets at cob formation stage.
      • In Assam the ribbon and old CD’s were effective to the extent of 90% in scaring the birds in early maturing Sali rice.
      •  Role of Beneficial birds in agricultural landscape:
      • At ARS-Tandur, duringrabi, in chickpea NPV and bird perches plot showed higher yield (2053 kg/ha) when compared to control (1421kg/ha).
      • In Gujarat, 18 species of birds found feeding on fruits of Ficus species, while in Assam. Mulberry – attracts 16 birds followed by, Flame of forests flower – (6 sp) Simul flower -   (6 sp), Morolia  flower and seed  -( 8 Sp), Jamlakhuti seed – (2 sp) and  Bottlebrush flower  - (5 sp) and  Helash – (4 sp)
      • In Kerala, 21 species of birds reduced 20-33% of Helicoverpa armigera in tomato & chick Pea.
      • The artificial nest boxes of different sizes for cavity nesting birds showed successful breeding of 18 spp of birds in Andhra Pradesh, Assam and Kerala.
      • Barn Owl breeding was successfully completed in the specially developed artificial nest boxes at Kerala / PAU /Andhra Pradesh.
      • In STZ and NTZ 35 locations were surveyed, and recorded peafowl in 23 villages. Peafowl was abundant (+++) in 13 (57%) villages and low in 10 (43%) villages. The group size of the birds ranges    2 – 8. Mostly sighted in the fields adjoining to the forest habitats and the incident of damage on different crops were negligible (2 – 5%). % Utilization of agricultural fields by peafowl showed predominant at Hedges (32%) followed by scrub land (21%) , standing crop (12%) and others (35%).
      • A total of 15 organic and 17 conventional farms were surveyed in South Telangana Zone and South Zone of Andhra Pradesh and the bird incidence showed higher occurrence of species in organic farms (25spp). 4 Granivorous species are very common (66.5%) namely Rose Ringed Parakeet , Myna, Munias and Crows.10 insectivorous species  just  common (average incidence=26%) they include Shrike, Great tit , Robin , Drongo , blue jay , Dove , Oriole, Cattle Egret & Stone chat. Factors such as crops, field size, height and age of trees and presence of Hedges played very important role in occurrence of these birds. In general, based on the surveys it is very clear that in organic farms the incidence of insectivorous birds was high when compared to conventional farms.
      • During the period 4 districts namely Nalgonda, Mahabubnagar, Medak and Rangareddi were surveyed and estimated the extent damage caused by wild boar in different crops viz, Paddy (22 to 35 %), Maize (30 to 38%), ground nut (28 to30%), sugarcane (38%) and vegetables around (21%).
      • During rabi among the treatments four thick sown rows of safflower around groundnut showed 68% more yield (1818kg/ha) when compared to control (581kg/ha).
      • In maize four thick sown rows of castor plot showed 80% more yield (2346kg/ha) when compared to control (463kg/ha).

      Production, process, technologies developed by the institute with credited scientists.

      • ANGRAU center has standardized a methodology for identifying roosting sites of birds in relation to cropping pattern through remote sensing and developed spatial distribution maps for both depredatory and beneficial birds.
      • Copper oxychloride @ 3 g/kg seed was recommended during Sprouting/Vegetative stage in crop like, maize, groundnut and sunflower against depredatory birds.
      • Large scale demonstrations of bird management methods viz., reflective ribbon, wrapping of maize at farmer’s fields showed significant results and adoptions was high among the farmers.
      • In sunflower, recommended whole egg solution @ 20 ml/lt to control Rose Ringed Parakeet damage during milky stage of the crop.
      • In Pigeon pea, recommended Bird perches ( @ 20/acre (or) 50 /ha) along with NPV (250 LE /ha) in controlling Helicoverpa armigira
      • In Castor, recommended bird perches ( @ 20/acre (or) 50 /ha) along with NPV (250 LE /ha) in controlling Helicoverpa  armigira & Spodoptera litura
      • In Chickpea, recommended bird perches (@ 20/acre (or) 50 /ha) along with NPV (250 LE /ha) in controlling Helicoverpa armigira & Spodoptera litura
      • Standardized the nest boxes (Artificial) design for different species of birds and promoted conservations of key bird species of agricultural importance.
      • In Wheat, Recommended two parallel Jute strings should be tied, 20 cm apart by fixing it with the help of wooden stakes on the outer edge of the row; the strings to be fixed just 6 inches away from the panicles to prevent damage by Rose Ringed Parakeet.
      • Recommended the berry of Miswak or Tooth brush tree Salvadora persica plants in the hedge around the crop field to retain 25 sp of insectivorous birds for a longer (six months) period consequently help in natural regulation of insect pests of agricultural crops.
      • Extensive awareness programmes were organized at KVK’s DAATTC and Dept. of Agriculture (ATMA) about the role of birds in agriculture land scape.

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