This article was originally published on Zoutpansberger.


A collaborative research project between Green Farms Nut Company (GFNC), South Africa’s largest privately owned processor and marketer of macadamia nuts, four of their suppliers, the macadamia industry body SAMAC, and the University of Venda (Univen) is proving the commercial value to the industry of using bats and birds to control insects that damage the crop.

GFNC has made orchards on two of the farms owned by Green Farms director Alan Whyte in the Levubu area available to the research project. Three of its suppliers, viz. Fritz Ahrens, Jaco Roux and Alistair Stewart, and his farm manager, Branden Jardim, all in the Levubu, Thohoyandou and Louis Trichardt areas, are also participating in the project. Researchers Valerie Linden and Sina Weier have put up 48 cages in trees on the six farms.

One set of cages keeps birds and bats from feeding off the insects on and around the trees. A second set enables both bats and birds to access the insects day and night. The third set of cages is closed in the evenings, to exclude bats and nocturnal birds, and the fourth set is closed in the daytime, to exclude birds that are active in the day. The nuts from the caged trees are then sampled to establish the percentage of damage caused by insects under these controlled conditions…”

Read on at: Zoutpansberger.