10 Jul 2013

Crop damage prevention tips sought

2:33 pm on 10 July 2013

An Auckland University masters researcher wants tips from growers on what they use to limit crop damage by blackbirds, estimated by some to cost up to $12,000 a week.

Emma Feenstra, who is a science graduate majoring in biology, is looking at what the introduced bird doesn't like and will avoid.

She is trialling a number of different methods at the produce supplier Enzed Hothouse at Karaka, south of Auckland, but wants as many hints from the experts as she can get.

Ms Feenstra says the damage wrought by blackbirds is no small thing.

She says the birds are a pest to stone fruit, dairy, tomatoes and the small flowers on baby crops, among other things.

Ms Feenstra hopes her research will be useful to growers and help them reduce loss.

She hopes to finish her study next January.