Duck plagues: heavy seasonal rains unbalance ecosystems across Australia

December 13, 2011AUSTRALIAFarmers in the New South Wales Riverina have endured drought, as well as plagues of mice and locusts, but this summer will see rice growers ducking for cover. This year’s strong rainfall had finally raised hopes of a more profitable year, but the rainfall also saw a rise in duck numbers. Rice grower Laurie Arthur, from west of Deniliquin, says he has installed $20,000 worth of flashing lights, along with gas guns, to try and deter the ducks. “This year we’ve got mobs of several thousand. They just sort of come in and land on a bay and just rip out the rice,” he said. “I’ve been growing rice for 30 years and I have never seen such a high concentration of ducks.” Mr. Arthur says the ducks are destroying later stage crops that have rice shoots about 25 centimeters long. “What the ducks do is they land on the bay and they grab hold of the shoot, pull it out and chew the little rice seed off the bottom and in the process of that they’ll sort of denude the whole paddock,” he said. Along with the flashing lights and noises, shooters are also patrolling the crops. “We are sort of patrolling it about 20 hours a day and we are spotlighting the crops at night because they don’t like a spotlight being shot on them and then they fly off then,” he said. “It has been a fairly exhausting fortnight.” Rice Growers Association of Australia president Les Gordon says it is difficult to estimate the magnitude of the damage, but it is definitely significant. “There are certainly anecdotal stories going around of crops and bays being shut off and I know of a number of people who’ve had to do that,” he said. Mr. Gordon says a duck plague can do more damage than locusts or mice. –ABC News
contribution Gen
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5 Responses to Duck plagues: heavy seasonal rains unbalance ecosystems across Australia

  1. SimpleStuff says:

    Of course one could argue that a duck plague is just getting back to what happened in Australia and across the world before mankind ruined the environment throughout the world.

    Australia has had two wet seasons in 3 years and the wildlife has an innate ability to reproduce to the levels that the environment can handle.

    The fact that we humans of the white variety have upset the balance of nature continually taking habitat from the animals, means that in good seasons nature bounces back also. So the duck plague eating the rice is only really doing what nature does naturally.

    It is man that doesn’t seem to understand these fundamentals.

    Great article thou, and a really reliable website… TY


  2. nanoduck says:

    Why don’t they hunt the ducks? Too many vegeterians in Australia?


    • Bone Idle says:

      They do hunt ducks in Australia – it’s seasonal. However there is a very powerful anti duck hunting lobby. This lobby has been able to have the duck shooting seasons cancelled a couple of times in the past few years. Obviously this has led to a profusion of ducks.


      • Kaz says:

        Good for the ducks!! They get slaughtered most seasons in Victoria but to my knowledge not in New South Wales. The anti duck hunting people are not powerful but they’re bloody brave that’s for sure.

        We’ve had a couple of very heavy wet seasons and ducks love the wet. Even though we have a lot of water now more often than not we have drought so rice is not the ideal crop for Oz to grow as it leads to a lot of over use of water. Perhaps we’ll get a balance but my guess is that we won’t as we’re just as dollar driven here as anywhere else.

        Leave the ducks alone. Australia has a shocking record for wiping out species. I know because I live here.
        Peace, joy and love to all
        Kaz :o)

        PS: to Alvin – thank you so much for all your hard work. This site is number one on my list everyday because of the balanced, intelligent information and the way you present it.
        Much love to you and yours
        Kaz (again) :o)


      • Thanks Kaz…glad you’ve made it one of your main stops. We’re fortunate to have you.

        love and light,



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