A fantastic example of our natural wildlife, everyone likes to see deer on their property. With an effective deer management plan in place not only will the animals thrive but so will growing crops.
It takes both physical and financial effort to establish a healthy crop, be this trees or an agricultural crop. Where natural regeneration is being promoted in woodland, a few deer can have a devastating impact on potential regrowth. In line with current Forestry Commission guidance and best practice, if a woodland management plan is created a Deer management plan should go alongside it. This will ensure any woodland work undertaken is not solely for the benefit of the local deer population, potential damage by deer is minimised and benefit to other wildlife and the local area maximised.
A fallow deer herd can number up to 150 animals, this is equivalent to a herd of 150 sheep or up to 60 cattle grazing on an arable/woodland crop. While deer are often not considered to be as damaging as conventional farmed stock, they will still consume a significant amount of green matter and impact on the crop and farm’s financial viability – very few farmers let escaped sheep stay on newly planted crops for long, for exactly this reason!
With a managed herd, the health and overall number of animals are balanced, minimising damage whilst maintaining a controlled and healthy population. This also has the added benefit of animals in good condition and thereby optimising the value of potential Venison sales.
Although generally more visible than their wild brethren, Park deer are still a wild animal with their inherent unpredictability.
To maintain a healthy and productive herd, numbers should be carefully managed in line with the environment they have access to. By managing both assets, a strong, healthy and disease free herd will result. This will result in a strong healthy herd more able to deal with our unpredictable weather conditions.
Deer management plans are now required as part of a number of grant scheme applications. Make sure yours is up to date and effective, ensuring you do not fall foul of any associated conditions. We are more than happy to assist with the writing and implementation of these plans, so give us a call to discuss.