Agricultural Fences

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Wildlife damage contributes to approximately $500 to 10% of crop loss for agricultural producers (Craven et al., 1992; Craven and Hygnstrom, 1994). One method commonly used by farmers is agricultural fencing.  Installation of fences should be completed before crops become established and in open spaces because deer will test it thoroughly and are more likely to jump fences bordering forested areas (Foster and Humphrey, 1995; Puglisi, 1974). The cost of fencing should be considered relative to the potential savings, durability of fence, and area to be fenced. Corner and end system materials of fences are 80-85% of the cost. Of the total costs for installation, materials account for 60%, labor accounts for 30%, and 10% for equipment costs (i.e. bulldozing) (Ellingwood & McAninch, 1984). Annual fencing costs are based on the life-expectancy of the fence and should include depreciation, maintenance, repairs, taxes, and insurance (Caslick & Decker, 1979).

Wire mesh fencing provide a physical barrier to the passage of deer meanwhile high-tensile woven wire electric fences rely on behavioral conditioning. Electric fences can control deer with a minimum charge of 3,000 volts (Curtis et al., 1994). Combining attractants such as peanut butter with electric fences will attract deer and result in a shock.

Wire Mesh Fencing materials cost >$5/m, installation >$5/m, effective for >30 years
High-tensile Electric Fencing materials cost $2-5/m

Caslick, J. and D. Decker.1979. Economic feasibility of a deer-proof fence for apple orchards. Wildl. Soc. Bull. 7:173-175.

Craven, S., D. Decker, S. Hygnstrom, and W. Siemer. 1992. Deer. Survey use and landowner tolerance in wildlife damage management. North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference 57:75–88.

Craven, S. and S. Hygnstrom. 1994. “Deer.” In Prevention and Control of Wildlife Damage. S. Hygnstrom, R. Timm, and G. Larson, eds. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension.

Curtis, P., M. Farigone, and M. Richmond. 1994. Preventing deer damage with barrier, electrical, and behavioral fencing systems. Proceedings of the Vertebrate Pest Control Conference 16:223–227.

Ellingwood, M., J. McAninch, and M. Farigone. 1985. Current status of deer fencing in the Northeast. Proceedings of the Eastern Wildlife Damage Control Conference 2:180–185.

Foster, M. and S. Humphrey. 1995. Use of highway underpasses by Florida panthers and other wildlife. Wildlife Society Bulletin 23:95–100.

Puglisi, M., J. Lindzey, and E. Bellis. 1974. Factors associated with highway mortality of white-tailed deer. Journal of Wildlife Management 38: 799–807.

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