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Agricultural Damage By Wildlife

Posted by Jennifer Smith on 7th Dec 2017

Don't give in to the doe eyes. Deer aren't so innocent.

If you live in suburban and rural settings, you most likely see deer coming out of the woodwork towards home gardens in search of food. Today, there are approximately 30 million white-tailed deer and over 3 million mule deer (elk) roaming around properties and home gardens in North America. Although they look innocent enough, they are known for being the most destructive wildlife species. In facts, wildlife responsible for crop damage in the United States include:

  • White-tailed deer (94% reported by farmers)
  • Wild Hogs (61%)
  • Coyotes (33%)
  • Raccoons (30%)
  • Armadillos (19%)
  • Rabbits (10%)
National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) reportedwildlife damage to U.S. agriculture at $944 million during 2001.Field crop losses to wildlife totaled $619 million and losses of vegetables, fruits, and nuts totaled $146 million.

Not to mention the hundreds of millions of dollars in damage to cars - including injuries and fatalities each year. With the over-population of deer, there has been a surge of damage among farms and gardens. Just two deer can produce a herd of up to 35 deer in just seven years!

Crops Damaged By Deer

In addition to flowerbeds and vegetable gardens, corn, peas, cotton, watermelon, soybeans and peanuts experienced the most damage from white-tailed deer.

Crops From Bird Damage

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) estimates that birds and other wildlife cause more than $1 billion in damage each year to civil aircraft in this country (USDA 2012). Birds destroy sunflowers, rice, corn, wheat, fruit, nuts and other crops in the United States. Bird damage to fruit including applies, blueberries and grapes exceeded $41 million as of 2012. Sunflowers and rice are the leading agriculture losses for farmers, equating to $5-13 million in crop damages.

Crop Damage From Feral Hogs

Wild Hogs cause about $1.5 billion of crop damage annually. Feral Pigs, "nature's bozers," have been seen up-and-down the East Coast including Texas, California and Oregon.

More U.S. Agriculture Damage Stats

  • Farmers reported a loss of approximately 3800 acres because of deer in 2009.
  • During 2001, field crop losses from wildlife in the United States totaled $619 million and losses of vegetables, fruits and nuts totaled $146 million. White-tailed deer accounted for 58% of the field crop damage and 33% of vegetable, fruit and nut damage.
  • Suburban homeowners spend thousands of dollars on deer control strategies.
  • On average in Pennsylvania, 56% of farmers report problems with deer and over $1.7 million in agriculture damage was caused by deer alone. Pennsylvania farmers suffer crop damage of an estimated $30 million annually.
  • In New York, farmers estimated their deer-related crop damages totaled $59 million in 2002.
  • New Jersey agriculture damage is estimated to exceed $10 million.

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