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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Net Benefits of Controlling Bird and Rodent Pests in Wine Grape and Avocado Production


The objective of this analysis was to estimate the net benefits of controlling bird and rodent pests in California production of wine grapes and avocados. These two crops were chosen because of the expected differences in types and extent of pest damage and methods of pest control used by growers, as well as their importance in California agriculture. A web-based survey was designed to capture grower experiences with current levels of pest damage and their expectations about damage levels without control. Information on the methods of pest control and associated costs was also solicited from growers. We obtained 83 responses from avocado growers and 84 responses from wine grape growers. Results indicate that rodenticide use and trapping are the predominant methods of rodent control in both crops, while netting and visual scare devices are the most common methods used to control birds. The net benefits of bird and rodent control were measured on a per-acre basis and accounted for crop savings, avoided property damage, and control costs. In avocado production, the net benefit of bird control was estimated to be $60 to $196 per acre, and the net benefit of rodent control was estimated to be $574 to $1,117 per acre. In wine grape production, the net benefit of bird control was $956 to $1,600 per acre and the estimate for rodent control was $390 to $832 per acre.

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