Natural Predator Services
At Avondale we mimic the ways that Nature supports natural predators in the system so as to curb disease and regulate infestations.
- At the micro-level we make use of two strains of beneficial bacteria to combat downy mildew and harmful worms.
- When necessary, we release the predatory wasp known as the mealy bug destroyer to combat attacks by mealy bugs.
- On the larger scale, Spotted Eagle Owls, Rock Kestrels, Yellow-billed and Black-shouldered Kites occur naturally on the farm and we have encouraged these birds of prey to do their work of rodent control where we need it most by erecting tall poles for convenient perching and owl houses in the vineyards.
Avondale’s Famous Duck Posse
Perhaps the most picturesque of our natural pest management methods is the employment of a posse of glossy white Pekin ducks who range through green vineyards on snail patrol. These ducks are entrained from young to voluntarily gather in the custom-made ‘duck-mobile’ and go out each weekday to do their work. Happily, they waddle between the vines and forage in the cover crops for snails. They are a highly effective and cost-efficient team who protect us from the damage that snails can do without having to resort to poisonous bait or the organically approved substitutes for snail control.
We have learnt from Nature that there are always better alternatives and we are constantly seeking new ways to strengthen the ecosystem as a whole, such as our current investigations into being an attractive environment for bats which do great work at moth control.