Eastern Wildlife Damage Control Conferences

 

Date of this Version

September 1985

Abstract

The effects of grazing winter wheat (Triticum aestivum) by Canada geese (Branta canadensis) was assessed in 3 fields during 2 years of experimentation at the Wye Research and Education Center, Queenstown, Maryland. Randomly placed wire enclosures prevented goose grazing on 11.1 m sq. control plots. Grazed plots were marked in each field soon after the geese migrated in March. Grazed plots had consistently lower yields than un-grazed plots with mean differences ranging from 0-13%. The differences were related to the intensity of grazing. Other parameters, including mean weight per seed, mean number of seeds per spike, mean number of spikes per plot, mean plant height and head date, were also measured. Statistically significant differences were found for many of these variables between grazed and un-grazed plots. The estimates of yield reduction were probably conservative in that the presence of control exclosures may have discouraged goose use of experimental fields compared to other fields in the vicinity.