Rodent Management for Surface Drip Irrigation Tubing in Corn, Cotton, and Peanut.
Ronald Sorensen, USDA-ARS-NPA-SPNRU, USDA-ARS-NPRL, Po Box 509: 1011 Forrester Dr. Se, Dawson, GA 39842-0509, Russell Nuti, NPRL-ARS-USDA, Box 509, Dawson, GA 39842-0509, United States of America, and Marshall C. Lamb, USDA-ARS-NPRL, Po Box 509: 1011 Forrester Dr. Se, Dawson, GA 39842-0509.
Surface drip (SD) irrigation of field crops has been gaining interest in the farming community. However, rodent damage is one of the major drawbacks for SD acceptance. This research documents the cost of repairing drip tubing and effectiveness of several rodent control methods. Four sites were used to identify cost of repairing tubing. Treatments included untreated drip tubing, tubing that was lightly buried, sprayed with an insecticide or animal repellent, and edible rodenticide placed next to the tubing. Once a leak was found, it took an average of 4 minutes to repair the hole. Each repair had an average cost of $0.67 for labor and repair materials. This repair cost does not include time or transportation cost to find the leak. Rodent damage was the same in the untreated versus any chemical treatment tested. At Site 4, the animal repellent, Ropel®, did have less rodent damage (2392 holes/ha) compared with the untreated (6049 holes/ha) however, the damage was extensive enough that it was more economical to replace than to repair the tubing. There was less rodent damage to the thin-walled tubing compared with the thicker-walled tubing. Drip tubing that was slightly buried had the best rodent control (5 holes/ha) compared with all other treatments (1771 holes/ha). One disadvantage of burying the drip tubing is removal. Strip tillage along with burying the drip tubing showed excellent resistance to rodent damage and appears to be a cost effective management tool for SD.