Hunting does touted as way to control crop damage Rise in corn, soybean prices predicted

January 21, 1993|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,Staff Writer

Crop damage by deer can best be controlled through hunting does, a Department of Natural Resources official told farmers yesterday during the first day of Carroll County's midwinter farm meetings.

County farmers also heard state extension agent James R. Russell say that prices for corn and soybeans may rise slightly next year.

The two subjects were among eight topics covered at the first day of the midwinter farm meetings sponsored by the Carroll County Extension Agency.

The Department of Natural Resources "feels that a regulated hunting program is the most effective and cheapest way of managing the deer population," said Robert A. Beyer, chief of wildlife operations, during his talk on the deer management permit program.

Farmers should contact the local Natural Resources wildlife office when they detect crop damage, and a wildlife specialist will come out to the property to investigate, he said.

If the damage is severe enough and trends seem to indicate it will continue, the department will issue a 30-day renewable permit to kill a certain number of does. Farmers can designate anyone they want to kill the deer, Mr. Beyer said.

"We will encourage you to allow hunting on your farm and encourage you to defer the permit until during the hunting season," he said, adding that deferment is not mandatory.

"We want to control the female because she is the breeding segment of the population. A buck will service what is there. If there are 20, he will take care of 20. He may be tired, but he will do it."

Mr. Russell, the extension agent, said that farmers shouldn't base their marketing strategy on predictions of price during the crop-pricing session.

"Price cannot be predicted," he said. "You can look at the probabilities, but averages and probabilities will get you in trouble."

In contrast, farmers should plan both for prices to rise quickly or drop suddenly when they're selling their crops, he said.

Mr. Russell also said that even though corn prices are weak right now, they are 21 percent higher than they were last year. This year's late harvest helped stabilize crop prices a bit, he said.

"I think we can see a rally," he said. "But don't expect a big rally. We won't see what we saw last year without a significant weather problem."

Soybean prices are stronger than corn, but they may remain low because of a good South American crop this year, Mr. Russell said.

"Soybeans in South America are a month away from having a record crop," he said.

Other seminars yesterday included discussions on insect and disease control, managing alfalfa crops, and techniques to increase corn production.

The midwinter meetings will continue from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. today at the Agriculture Center in Westminster. Topics for the free sessions include an update on worker protection, a program about the agriculture commission and a panel discussion on weed control.

Information: 848-4611.

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