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Minimizing Deer Damage in Vegetable Crops

Julie Kikkert, Team Leader, Extension Vegetable Specialist
Cornell Vegetable Program

Last Modified: July 15, 2014

Minimizing Deer Damage in Vegetable Crops
A comprehensive plan is needed to manage deer on your farm. Understanding the biology, habitat and feeding habits is a good first step. See the fact sheets listed in the resource section below. Your management plan will depend on the size of the farm or field you wish to protect, your location, tolerance for damage and the resources you have to direct towards this project. Here are some of the options:

EXCLUSION
To deter deer during the vegetable growing season, single-strand electric fences can be used in combination with a repellent. Alternatively, pieces of aluminum foil with peanut butter when placed at three to four foot intervals along the fence attract the deer to touch the electric fence (photo). High-visibility, electric polytape fences on fiberglass stakes provide another low-cost, portable design that can effectively reduce deer damage to vegetable crops. The fact sheets listed below provide detailed information on these and other types of fencing.

SCARE DEVICES
The key to using these devices is to move them every day if possible. Look to see where the deer are coming into the field and seek to break their habit of coming there. CVP specialist Robert Hadad has had good success with Rubber Coyotes on his property (photo). The cost is about $55 each, and he used a total of 4 decoys for a 2 acre field. Other devices include scare balloons, scarecrows, noise cannons and the like. Deer become habituated to these devices in a few days.

REPELLENTS
One local grower reports success in using highly fragrant deodorant soap in combination with the electric fence. A variety of chemical repellents are labeled for use in New York. The repellents work best when deer pressure is light, however, some damage must be tolerated. Repellents should be applied before feeding is likely to occur. Repellents are cost-effective on small acreages. They may need to be reapplied every 3-4 weeks. Costs may be reduced by mixing with other crop protectants (make sure to read the label first).

BUFFER STRIPS
Deer prefer certain types of crops such as snap beans, dry beans and soybeans. Planting a buffer strip of such crops may limit feeding to those crops, and keep the deer out of your other vegetables.

POPULATION CONTROL
Managing deer population will go a long way towards minimizing damage to vegetables and other crops. Techniques include habitat management and hunting. Contraceptive methods are costly and the effectiveness on population reduction is controversial. The NYS DEC will help landowners with a management plan. The Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) seeks to help landowners implement site specific deer management on their lands. Under the program, the DEC issues a special permit and a determined number of deer tags to a landowner or resource manager, or a group of landowners or resource managers, whose property is in need of site specific deer management efforts. DMAP permits are valid for use only during the open deer hunting seasons and can only be used by licensed hunters. For many, this is the "right" time to harvest deer. Only deer without antlers or having antlers measuring less than three inches in length may be taken under the authority of a DMAP permit. Applications for permits valid during the fall big game hunting seasons must be postmarked by September 1. More information on the DMAP program can be obtained at http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/33973.html or by calling your local DEC office.

RESOURCES
2014 Cornell Vegetable Guidelines, Chapter 5, page 26
http://veg-guidelines.cce.cornell.edu/5frameset.html

Cornell White Tailed Deer Management Fact Sheet:
http://wildlifecontrol.info/pubs/Documents/Deer/Deer_factsheet.pdf

Prevention and Control of Wildlife Damage — 1994: Deer
http://www.icwdm.org/handbook/mammals/mam_d25.pdf

New York’s Deer Management Program
http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7211.html


Minimizing Deer Damage in Vegetable Crops (pdf; 635KB)

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Lorsban is Banned: What Now?

Cabbage maggot (CM) feeds on brassica seedlings by tunneling into the stem of the plant just below the soil line. Their feeding can result in unsightly and unmarketable produce in the case of root brassicas like turnips, and in stunting, reduced stand, and reduced yield in head and stem brassicas like cabbage and broccoli. Lorsban and other formulations containing the active ingredient chlorpyrifos were the first line of defense for control of cabbage maggot in several brassica crops, because 1) at ~$10 per acre, it was affordable, and 2) it was easy to apply and avoided worker exposure as a directed spray at the base of the plant.

Unfortunately, Lorsban and all of its generic products for food and feed uses were banned in New York as of July 31, 2021, and in the United States as of February 28, 2022. In the absence of Lorsban and other chlorpyrifos-containing insecticides, NY brassica growers have 6 products belonging to 4 chemical classes available to manage cabbage maggot. This article, Lorsban is Banned: How to Control Cabbage Maggot in Brassicas Now?, written by Cornell Vegetable Program Specialist Christy Hoepting and Brian Nault of Cornell AgriTech, provides our "2022 Top Picks" to use instead of Lorsban plus results of Cornell research trial results related to application method, rate, and cabbage maggot control.


Propagating Strawberry Plants Through Runners

The production of strawberry plants is challenging due to the rigorous sanitation needs that must be met, especially in field propagation settings, but also in greenhouse settings. To add to that, growers in New York may find it more difficult to obtain their preferred strawberry varieties in the coming years, as fewer nurseries are propagating strawberries. The solution: strawberry plug plants propagated from runners in a controlled environment such as a greenhouse or high tunnel.

Plug production of rarer varieties that do well in New York State will fetch a higher price than dormant bare-root plants due to the higher cost of production and lower availability in the Northeast, especially if plants are available in August. Propagating Strawberry Plants Through Runners, written by Anya Osatuke of CCE Harvest NY and Brad Bergefurd of The Ohio State University, only discusses production and marketing potential of plug plants because successful field production of bare-root strawberries is very difficult to achieve without the use of highly restricted soil fumigants. 



Cornell Commercial Vegetable Guidelines Available

The 2022 Cornell Integrated Crop and Pest Management Guidelines for Commercial Vegetable Production are now available!

Written by Cornell University specialists, this publication is designed to offer producers, seed and chemical dealers, and crop consultants practical information on growing and managing vegetable crops in New York State. Topics include general culture, nutrient management, transplant production, postharvest handling, organic production, and managing common vegetable crop pest concerns. A preview of the Vegetable Guidelines can be seen online.

Cornell Crop and Pest Management Guidelines are available as a print copy ($43.50), online-only access ($43.50), or a package combining print and online access ($61.00). Shipping charges will be added to your order. Cornell Guidelines can be obtained through many local Cornell Cooperative Extension offices (call to confirm availability), or from The Cornell Store at Cornell University or call (844) 688-7620.


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