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Farmers urged to plan ahead to prevent game bird crop damage

Media release from Taranaki Fish & Game

Farmers urged to plan ahead to prevent game bird crop damage

Taranaki Fish & Game is urging farmers to be proactive over paradise shelduck that begin to move into paddocks and newly-planted crops this month, and “mob up” ahead of their annual moult in January.

Fish & Game regional manager Daren Smith says farmers can expect to see increasing numbers of paradise shelduck mobs moving into these areas close to potential moulting sites.

And if farmers think ahead and plan for the annual event they can minimise crop damage caused by the congregating birds.

Mr Smith says Fish & Game’s website offers advice on a number of methods to deter the birds, which are summarised in an article:

“For a number of years we’ve tried to encourage farmers to invest in non-lethal bird-scaring equipment and to put it out over new pasture or crops in advance of the crop emerging, as it’s this time when crops are most vulnerable to damage by birds, and not just game birds.

“One such method, and the most effective we’ve found, is using a gas operated gun or cannon to move the birds on.

“We’ve even negotiated a 10% discount with a company that supplies these devices which can be passed on to any farmer who wants to buy a gas gun.”

Mr Smith says Fish & Game makes no profit from the transaction but it allows them to get details of the farmers using gas guns – so they can issue a free permit required by law to disturb game birds using this method.”

Taranaki Fish & Game Council have in the past, provided a limited number of gas guns to farmers at no cost but it’s no longer a viable option – and farmers are now being encouraged to make this investment themselves, he adds.

“By owning their own gas guns farmers have the flexibility to deploy the guns when and where they want on their property under an extended, normally 12 month permit to disturb the birds.”

Mr Smith says that anyone with concerns or questions about problem game birds is invited to contact a Taranaki Fish & Game regional office for advice.


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