Assessment and comparison of current rodent control techniques towards the protection of young oil palms (Elaies guineensis) in the field
A field study was conducted in the Eastern region of Ghana to assess and compare five methods for the protection of young oil palms (Elaies guineensis) against rodent pests. The rodents attack the bulb of the young oil palm trees leading to eventual death and a reduction in plant stands. The methods (treatments) were broadly grouped into two, with one group comprising two treatments (use of double and single wire nets) recommended by the Oil Palm Research Institute (OPRI), and the other group comprising three traditional methods used by the local farmers (use of basket collars, Jatropha curcus seedlings and regular maintenance schedules). The experiment involved the use of a randomized block design with four replications, each treatment plot consisting of 15 seedlings of oil palm in three rows of five at a spacing of 8.7 metres in a triangular array. Over a twelve-month period, monthly records were taken of the number of dead palm plants and the number of rodent pest attacks as indicated by signs of physical damage to the palm. The results indicated that use of wire nets (OPRI-recommended) was more effective in protecting the young palms against rodent attacks than the “traditional” methods variously employed by local farmers. Economic analysis of the two OPRI-recommended methods, however, indicated that single wire netting (consisting of a single wire collar wound tightly around the basal area of the palm, and placed slightly deeper into the ground to prevent rodents from burrowing through) was more cost-effective than double wire netting, and therefore holds promise for the protection of young oil palms against rodent pests.
JOURNAL OF THE GHANA SCIENCE ASSOCIATION Volume 2 No. 2 (2000) pp. 99-106