Monday, April 19, 2021

Rape growers in £50m pigeon battle

March 26, 2011 by  
Filed under Crops

FARMERS would lose oilseed rape crops worth £53million without controlling pigeons, suggests a study.

Some 77% of East Anglian farmers have suffered pigeon damage this season, threatening up to one third of the region’s oilseed rape crop, according to the NFU survey.

Without control measures, growers would lose £45-53 million at harvest 2010 prices.

As well as shooting and gas guns, the survey shows farmers are using a wide variety of methods to tackle the problem. These include scarecrows, mirrors, imitation animals and even falconry.

NFU countryside adviser Alex Dinsdale said: “Farmers have to protect their crops from pigeons and this survey shows that shooting is the most effective method, coupled with other controls.”

To ease the problem, the NFU has teamed up with the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) to put farmers in touch with responsible shooters willing to help keep pigeon numbers down.

BASC regional officer Simon Reinhold said “We know that some NFU members have reported difficulty in finding people available to help control pigeon numbers.

Shooting could prove to be a better option than using gas guns, which have led to complaints from rural residents. Farmers who choose to use gas guns are being urged to focus firing patterns on periods of peak pigeon activity.

An NFU code of practice encourages the use of gas guns only as a last resort. Noisy scarers should be avoided near homes and other places where quiet is important, it says.  Gas guns should not be used between sunset and sunrise.

Just a few inconsiderate actions could threaten the ability of all growers to use the scarers, said Mr Dinsdale. “Farmers must show they are capable of using gas guns responsibly or face calls for a ban.”

Farmers can now contact the BASC regional centre to be put in touch with nearby pigeon shooters keen to help protect crops under the terms of the General Licence. The number to call is 01284 728752.

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!

You must be logged in to post a comment.