Heavy Deer Pressure in Field Corn
Issue/Alert Affecting Crop: Field corn was under heavy stress from worms, initially, and now the large deer population is feeding on the ears and knocking down stalks. This crop, primarily in north Walton County, was hit pre-silking with worm pressure. What the early worms left, the deer are eating. It is anticipated the damage will increase in the coming weeks as does drop fawns and need the additional calories to nurse the fawns. Also, two landowners have reported heavy infestations of armyworms in Bermuda hayfields. Spraying has begun.
White Tail Deer - Crops on the Menu Photo Credits: Les Harrison
What Does the Specialist Say About This: Complaints of deer damage to crops are common throughout north Florida. The most effective strategies for reducing crop injury will involve restricting deer access and/or repelling the pest. Fences can be the most effective means of restricting access, but also the most expensive. Large areas can be protected with repellents or frightening devices. Repellents discourage deer through offensive tastes or odors. Many commercial varieties are available, and home-made remedies can also be used (such as bags of human hair, bars of soap, or tankage hung near the edges of crop fields). Deterrents are most effective when reapplied frequently, and when the type of deterrent is changed often. Finally, deer can be frightened temporarily by pyrotechnics and gas exploders. Additional information can be found at: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/uw128 Holly Ober, Ph.D,. Assistant Professor, Wildlife Ecology & Conservation, North Florida Research & Education Center