Crop Damage Control 2005


Velma Hudson


The Waterfowl Crop Damage Prevention Program (WCDPP), administered by the Alberta Conservation Association (ACA), assists Alberta cereal grain producers in preventing and/or controlling damage to crops from waterfowl during the fall migration period. The WCDPP activities include 1) direct assistance to producers through installation and maintenance of waterfowl scaring equipment on affected crops, 2) the provision of alternate feed for waterfowl at bait stations, and 3) the operation of distribution centres that provide scaring equipment free of charge for producers to borrow.

In each year, program activities begin in early August and continue until approximately 70% of cereal crops are harvested, typically, by mid October. In order to reduce conflicts with recreational waterfowl hunting opportunities, effort is made to terminate the waterfowl feeding program operations by the Friday preceding the October Thanksgiving weekend. In 2005, cool, rainy weather delayed harvest of agricultural crops and program activities, including feeding stations located in the Peace River, St. Paul, Red Deer, and Lethbridge areas continued until mid October.

In 2005, eight field personnel worked in 15 active control areas located in the Peace River, Grande Prairie, Athabasca, St. Paul, Vegreville, and Red Deer areas. Scaring equipment was available through 35 distribution centres located in local businesses and Alberta Sustainable Resource Development (ASRD) offices. Fifty-two potential cases of waterfowl damage were handled by ACA field staff, while distribution centres issued scare cannons for use on 163 potential waterfowl damage locations. The number of reported waterfowl damage cases in 2005 was 35% lower than in 2004.

In 2005, the ACA operated 11 bait stations and established one lure crop to provide alternate food sources for waterfowl. A total of 21,267 bushels of barley were provided at the bait stations with an estimated duck-use of 2,045,093 days and a consumption rate of 0.55 pounds/duck/day. Total duck-use days at the bait stations in 2005 was 3% higher than that in 2004.

Program expenditures for 2005 totaled $347,432, which was cost-shared equally by the Alberta Conservation Association and Environment Canada.

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