U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


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Proceedings of the 16th Wildlife Damage Management Conference. (L.M. Conner and M.D. Smith, Eds). 2016.. Pp. 75-82.


U.S. Government Work


From 2001 to 2013 (except 2004), the National Sunflower Association sponsored a comprehensive production survey of physiologically mature sunflower (Helianthus annuus) fields in the Canadian province of Manitoba and eight states in the United States. Trained teams of surveyors randomly stopped at one sunflower field for every 4,047 – 6,070 ha (10,000-15,000 acres). Each team evaluated plant stand, yield potential, disease, insect, weed, and bird damage for each field. We pooled data gathered during the most recent 5-years (2009 to 2013) of the survey and found that sunflower damage caused by blackbirds and plant lodging ranked fifth (behind plant spacing, disease, drought and weeds) as the most limiting factors on production. We found that overall annual economic losses from blackbird damage averaged $US13.5 million and $US4.9 million for oilseed hybrids and confectionery hybrids, respectively. We suggest elements of a multi-faceted bird management plan that might help reduce damage.

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