lsclogo

office   99 Christie Lake Road

         PO Box 37

         Perth, ON  K7H 3E2

phone  613-267-4200 ext. 3192

mail  info@lanarkstewardshipcouncil.ca

In 2004, the Lanark Soil and Crop Improvement Association approached the Stewardship Council with the idea for a study that would attempt to find out what was really happening on the landscape as it pertained to wildlife damage.

“It was too easy to say, just because there is wildlife there, then they must be causing significant damage” said Peter McLaren of the Lanark Soil and Crop Improvement Association. It was very important to ensure that the proposed crop study be properly designed. Wendy Asbil, a crop researcher with the University of Guelph in Kemptville and crop specialists with the Ministry of Agriculture and Food assisted with the design of the project.Rangers sample crops

The study established that general statements about the levels of crop damage to farm crops could not be made. Over the three years, it was found that wildlife damage was not consistent. Significant damage was found in some fields, while other fields suffered little or no damage. Often the level of damage could not be linked to the perceived number of wildlife using the field or to the distance from cover. Generally, damage was greater in small grain crops and lowest in soybeans and forage crops.

The presence of wildlife does not necessarily result in large financial losses to farmers but any financial loss is important to these landowners. It is necessary to keep wildlife control practices in place, such as hunting seasons, it is also important to recognize that wildlife and farmers can coexist on the same landscape.

“Although the study was designed to use the resources available as effectively as possible and I am confident in the results”, said Ms. Asbil, “like many research studies we could have used more data. We analyzed over 1000 samples per year, but larger sample sizes and a greater number of samples may have improved the results. It would have also been helpful to have had specific information such as the type and numbers of wildlife using the fields along with when and how long they were present.”

This project could not have been completed with out the help of many supporters such as: The Lanark Soil and Crop Association members who allowed access to their properties and knowledge of the local area; University of Guelph, Kemptville Campus for analyzing of the samples, data and completion of the report; The Ministry of Natural Resources and Ministry of Agriculture and Food staff for their technical support in the development of the study protocols; and, The Lanark Stewardship Council supplied the labour to install the cages and collect the data.

View the Wildlife Damage Study