An army of ducks work at a vineyard in South Africa.
Twice a day, over 1,000 ducks are released into Vergenoegd vineyard in Stellenbosch. The ducks are on a mission to eat snails that often feast on budding vines.
The white dune snails are considered as a main threat as they are known to damage numerous plants as well as economically important crops.
The Indian runner ducks are not only effective for pest control in our vineyards but they are also very, very good source of fertilizers.
“The special thing about the Indian runner duck is that he can take the snails (pests) from the wine stick and he can also get the eggs from the snails underground and eat it up, where you get your pesticides and you spray it, it doesn’t work underground so the Indian runner duck can get it from the ground underneath the ground and eat the eggs also,” said duck handler, Denzil Matthys.
Commonly referred to as runner ducks, they help make the farm sustainable. They patrol 140 acres of vineyard, five days a week.
“The Indian runner ducks are not only effective for pest control in our vineyards but they are also very, very good source of fertilizers. So the digestive system from in to out is basically an hour – whatever the ducks eat in the vineyard, gets deposited straight back into the vineyard. It gets worked into the ground and very good rich soil for good growth of our vineyards,” said David Badenhorst, the vineyard’s social media manager.
In honour of the ducks’ tremendous job, the farm has a wine selection dubbed ‘Runner Duck’. The army of ducks have created a brand name for themselves.