Date of this Version
Damage caused by the feeding of raccoons (Procvon lotor) on stalks of sugarcane (Saccharum sp.) has occurred for several years on the 200-acre U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) research farm located near Houma, Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana. Damage begins when sugarcane mature internodes begin to from in late June and early July, and continues until the completion of harvest in late December. Raccoons appear to prefer varieties having low fiber and/or high sugar content and can severely damage these varieties (personal observation). Depredation by these animals frequently result in loss of data as preferred varieties are systematically removed from established experiments. In an effort to stop or reduce depredation, three sides of the research farm were protected with an electrified fence in 1988. Fencing was considered to be very successful because estimated sugarcane losses on certain varieties decreased from 80-90% in 1987 to less than 1% in 1988. A single block of standing sugarcane used to evaluate cold tolerance was kept free from raccoon damage three months past the normal harvest season by the fence.