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


Date of this Version



Published in International Biodeterioration and Biodegradation.


A standardized procedure for estimating deer damage in cabbage is used to settle claims for compensation of losses in the state of Wisconsin. By completely enumerating all damaged heads of cabbage in a field. We validated the standard procedure for accuracy. The general paradigm used for assessing losses requires a subjective examination of the field to define strata with and without damage, obtaining representative samples of undamaged heads in each strata with 3 quadrants. then converting the difference in density of undamaged heads between strata into an estimate of damage for the entire field. Weighing a sample of undamaged heads allows estimation of the total weight lost to deer damage and the calculation of a cost value. We also applied a form of variable area transect (VAT) sampling without stratification of the field to test whether this less labor-intensive sampling method could produce adequate loss estimates. The field had 1265 commercial-quality cabbage heads damaged by deer. The standard assessment procedure estimated 1330 damaged heads. whereas VAT sampling estimated at most 346 damaged heads. We concluded that the standard procedure was quite accurate, and we suggested modifications to the VAT sampling that might lead to greater accuracy in future trials.