Protecting your hay from wildlife damage

Farm Forum

With average hay prices at $200/ton and higher, it is very critical for livestock owners to make certain that every last bit of feed that was purchased or raised is available to the animals. Due to the recent drought, a lack of available winter forage, and colder temperatures, wildlife (especially deer) damage to haystacks is of great concern. Fortunately for South Dakota landowners, the South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks’ (GFP) Wildlife Damage Management Program (WDMP) is available to assist in protecting hay resources. Since 2005, GFP has worked with more than 800 individual producers.

There are two types of assistance available to producers

under the WDMP:

1. Portable panel loan program.

2. Cost-share program for supplies and labor to construct a permanent stack-yard fence (for large stack-yards that are permanently located).

On an annual basis, GFP expends more than $2.5 million to assist producers with a wide variety of programs designed to help reduce damages caused by wildlife. Because the money for the program is solely obtained through hunting fees, one condition of the program is that landowners agree to allow no-fee hunting and a reasonable amount of access for hunters. According to GFP, ensuring an adequate harvest of big game animals is the best tool to prevent feed loss.