Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Got Deer?

Some variables in farming, such as the weather, can do some serious crop damage.  Unfortunately, that type of variable is out of our control.  Other elements elements of farming, such as preventing deer from entering our fields, we can mange well enough to prevent losing crops.

We have been fighting the deer and the damage that they do to our crops for many years.  In the past, we tried a number of methods to keep the deer out of our fields.  We've tried tying bags of human hair onto our fruit trees.  We've also tried tying small bars of bath soap onto fruit trees.  We've installed electric fences around the bean patch and corn fields (and as soon as a branch or even grass contacted the wire, the wire shorted out.)  Any of these ideas work for a little while.

For the past 10 years we have used plastic fencing that can be taken down at the end of each season.  This option worked well, especially on the fields that we lease, but with the increase in the amount of deer trying to break in, this method is no longer working.  The deer pressure is so high that they keep pushing down the fence, brushing the straw cover off of the plants, and eating the plants.

The last couple of days, Tom and his workers replaced the plastic fence on the other side of the strawberry field that backs up against the woods with metal box wire 8 feet tall.  We installed 8 miles of fencing.  The fencing cost about $100,000 to surround our fields and orchards.  It's the only way to go to protect our livelihood.

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