Many fields planted throughout plantation land see lots of wildlife damage, mostly from hogs. Effingham County Agent Sam Ingram put together some information on Controlling Deer through his blog. Here is a field of soybeans last year on a plantation where deer have damaged. This kind of damage early on can certainly decrease yield potential.
Deer may prefer these areas because of greater comfort. If this is the case, a grower may plant excess plants in these areas to allow for grazing and to limit the deer from encroaching past these areas. This is more of a sacrifice area than control.
Control options or deterrents are available, but efficacy or effectiveness is not proven for any of them:
- Milorganite® is used by many producers by application around the perimeter of the fields as a deterrent. Producers believe this product has worked well in fields in the beginning, but if the deer become accustom to the product or a rain shower washes the product it loses its effectiveness.
- Hot sauces- similar idea as the Milorganite® with it being placed around the perimeter. Similar limitations to the effectiveness with weather issues and the deer becoming accustomed to the product.
- Electric fence- This deterrent or barrier is the most troublesome to put in place but for fields with heavy deer pressure it may be worth the expense. Some factors to consider is the access to power or solar power and the understanding that a producer may have to repair/re-stake the fence throughout the season.
For more information on the potential yield loss and control options, here are thoughts from UGA Soybean and Cotton Agronomist Dr. Jared Whitaker:
“Some producers have said hot sauces or milorganite give some control. Unfortunately, we do not have any research behind the effectiveness of these remedies. But, looking at the potential loss in yield, every situation is different. If the deer graze the plant past the cotyledon, we lose all yield potential for that plant.”