Many developing countries are rich in natural resources such as high quality, cultivated land, but still depend on imports to meet domestic demand for basic products. One of the factors constraining production of cereal crops in many countries is the damage caused by seed-eating birds such as sparrows. The aim of this study was to test the effectiveness of two methods, deployment of netting and destruction of sparrow nests, in protecting crops and decreasing harvest losses. In two years (2006 and 2009), potential wheat yield and sparrow damage were assessed in two experimental plots of wheat plus a third control plot. The average percentage of ears attacked by the Spanish sparrow in the control plot was 62±4.9%. This was significantly higher than the levels of sparrow damage in the nest destruction plot (35±2.3%) and the plot protected by netting (1.4±0.35%). The theoretical yield was estimated to be 1452±180 kg/ha in the control plot, 1318±126 kg/ha in the nest destruction plot, and 1928±117 kg/ha in the netting plot. This study demonstrates that yield losses of Algerian wheat can be substantially reduced using simple and cost-effective techniques.
Key words: Spanish sparrow, nests destruction, loss, wheat.
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