Owls called upon as expert rodent assailants by Boyolali farmers

Boyolali, C Java Using owls for natural rodent population control in paddy fields appears to be gaining traction among farmers of Jeron Village, Nogosari Sub-district, Boyolali District, Central Java.

“The farmers have been installing owl nesting boxes in their plantation fields. The farmers are putting on patrol owls for prey, such as rats, which destroy plant species and are causal to crop losses,” Jeron Village Head Joko Supono revealed here, Thursday.

Supono pointed to the plight of the farmers in Jeron, Boyolali, who had to recently incur major harvest losses and damage to paddy fields caused by rodents.

Hence, in a bid to control the rodent population in fields, Jeron farmers have been breeding owls that prey on these pests. Moreover, the farmers have learned a technique to build owl nesting boxes from Demak District and thereafter emulated it in their own fields.

Supono vouches for the use of owls as biological pest control agents, necessitating a budget of Rp10 million. He has encouraged the local farmers to set up 10 owl nesting boxes in paddy fields, with the figure reaching 60 in the village.

Owls are the common kestrel, birds of prey that help to significantly reduce rodent populations, and this initiative, taken up in January this year, has vastly benefited the local farmers.

“The more the number of owls in their fields, the lesser will be the rat pest population,” he affirmed.

Head of the Boyolali agriculture agency Bambang Jiyanto has commended this idea of the local farmers for pest control in Jeron, so the agency will take part to aid in building more of these owl nesting boxes in some other fields in Boyolali.

“Farmers in Jeron have optimally put to practice this innovative idea of pest control,” he remarked.

Boyolali District has remained among the key rice producing areas and the national “food barn” in Central Java Province.

Source: Antara News