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Protect hemp from deer to avoid massive losses while the crop is under cultivation. Deer are a sight to behold, and many people would pay anything to set their eyes on these mystic herbivores with a special place in Christmas lore. But these beautiful creatures could be the source of pain for outdoor cannabis growers.
Protect Hemp From Deer: Do Deer Eat Weed?
Deer can eat anything green, but their favorites include sweet-tasting plants such as soybeans, corn, berries, and veggies. But what about hemp plants?
Cannabis plants produce a pungent odor and taste bitter. But white-tailed deer have a taste for almost anything, especially in the summertime when plants are flourishing. The animals will enjoy young cannabis plants because they are sweet to taste. But as the hemp plants grow older, they become less inviting to the mammals.
Deer herds seem to understand that beggars don’t have much slack. Mature hemp plants may not be the best alternative but could be the only option in the vicinity. If farmers haven’t secured their outdoor crops, deer will have a field day munching on them.
Can Deer Get High?
Like humans, deer can get high after consuming raw cannabis plants. A 2014 news clip showed a deer group that had passed out next to the crops in Oregon. The hemp grower, Richard Davis, later discussed his experience with the animals on his farm.
When deer consume growing cannabis plants, there are likely to arise two problems. The farmer will experience heavy losses as the creatures chew away the leaves and destroy the hemp flowers and buds. The farmer will also have to deal with the animals passing out on their farm or getting high and behaving abnormally.
Signs of a Deer Problem
Before embarking on ways to protect hemp from deer, it is crucial to be sure there is a deer problem in the first place. These animals operate at night when most humans are asleep. They are likely to come out in the dead of night to feast on the cannabis plants and leave before daybreak. But they will leave behind particular tell-tale signs.
When morning comes, and farmers move out to their farms for a regular spot check, they will likely notice the herbivores’ mess. Hoof tracks, chewed leaves, twisted hemp stems, and deer droppings will be an excellent testament to the deer visitation. Since the creatures eat and spoil hemp buds, leaves, and flowers, the farmer counts enormous losses from the invasion.
Growers need to be sure it is the deer, and no other animals, to determine the most appropriate measures to take. Different animals attack hemp plants differently, and preventive measures would also depend on the animal type. For example, it would be ineffective (and unnecessarily expensive) for farmers to fence their crops if the culprits are rodents.
How to Protect Hemp from Deer
Hemp cultivators have a reason to worry over the possible invasion of their farms by deer. Like any other cash crop, hemp farmers need to protect their crops against any eventuality resulting in significant losses.
The forked antler-species may be hungry for all sorts of crops, and outdoor hemp farmers can’t take chances with them. As such, they must find ways to protect hemp from deer. Here are some ways to prevent deer from invading hemp farms.
Cannabis growers commonly use trellis nets to help climbing plants stand tall and access direct sunlight. However, trellis nets have also become useful for hemp cultivators who use them during the drying and curing processes. Weed farmers living in areas prone to deer invasion can also use these nets to protect their crops while allowing them full access to sunlight.
Trellis nets have many advantages. Besides protecting hemp from the avaricious deer, hemp farmers can use the trellis netting as tray liners for drying hemp flowers. Trellises make one of the best alternatives for tray liners because they are lightweight and easy to use in any tray type and size. To enjoy more benefits of the trellis, users could consider purchasing plastic materials since they are easy to clean and are reusable.
When hemp growers have harvested their crop and deer are no longer a concern in their lives, they can focus their attention elsewhere. They can use the trellis nets for other crops such as tomatoes, cucumbers, and a host of climbing plants. Indeed, investing in these nets would be an excellent idea for farmers with a diverse farming portfolio.
Hemp growers looking for a maintenance-free solution to the deer challenge should consider installing deer fencing. In fact, most agriculturalists recommend using this type of fencing to protect cannabis crops from deer browsing.
Hemp enthusiasts will find many types of deer fences on the market. However, they must remember that not all fences are suitable for protecting the land against deer invasion. They should consider the type of materials used in the fencing before installing anything. While most materials would make the right fence, farmers may go for metal or polypropylene, with PVC coating. These materials are not only durable but can also withstand deer teeth.
Hemp farmers may also consider plastic fences depending on the extent of deer pressure in their localities. This type of fence is available in different strength grades and heights, and their prices vary depending on these characteristics. If they expect increased deer pressure in the area, they can install a metal deer fence to strengthen the animals’ resistance.
Here are some reasons to consider deer fencing:
- Easy to install
- Can last up to 30 years
- Available in different grades and materials to fit everyone’s budget
Though most fence types will suffice, the rationale for going electric is to get these magnificent creatures to stay away from hemp farms. A non-electric fence is adequate, but the animals may soon find a way to breach them. They may learn to jump over them, especially if the wall is not high enough. They may also break it down by pushing relentlessly against the fence.
To keep the bills down and to avoid mishaps, users should allow the fence to go live only at nightfall when deer are likely to come calling. But switching the fence on every night can be expensive in the long run, so hemp farmers have to find a way of discouraging the animals from trying their luck every night.
One trick is to apply some peanut butter at the base of the fence before going live. The majestic creatures will come by, attempt to get a taste of the sweet snack, and then get a consequent shock. Repeating this process a few more times should teach the animals a lesson. Eventually, they will stop eating the peanut butter and won’t approach the farm anymore.
Hemp growers going for an electric fence should be aware of the challenges they might face. These challenges include:
- High costs of acquisition and installation
- High maintenance and operation costs
- Possibility of shocking unintended victims.
- No deer may show up in a long time.
Motion Detector Lighting
Another option in protecting hemp from deer is the use of motion detector lighting. This strategy requires the use of high-wattage bulbs connected to motion detectors. The deer’s movement would trigger the motion detector, which would turn on the high-power bulbs, shooting an intense light beam in the animals’ direction.
These browsers don’t like bright lights. As soon as the beam from the bulbs streak towards them, they are sure to hop away and try their luck elsewhere. However, users must ensure the light does not point at their hemp plants, significantly if they are growing photoperiod cannabis. The light can alter their life cycle and disrupt flowering.
Motion Detector Sprinklers
Motion detector sprinklers work on the same principle as motion detector lighting. Instead of a swathe of bright light, the adventurous deer walk right into a water spray as they approach the outdoor hemp garden. Weed growers installing these sprinklers have to be sure they point them in the places deer are likely to emerge before heading for the hemp plants.
Weed growers using the sprinklers also need to ensure they don’t spray water onto their plants. They can have the sprinklers facing away from the crops to direct water away from the plants when activated. While the cannabis plants can do well with additional moisture, the sprinkler’s water may land on their leaves, thereby causing mold or diseases.
Deer are skittish and have a strong sense of smell. They easily get scared by the smell of animals they fear and will turn away immediately. One of those animals that threaten the deer is humans, meaning a hemp farmer can use their body to discourage these browsers from eating their hemp plants. Leaving human smells around the cannabis plants can be a little complicated, but it certainly pays off.
Hemp farmers can create human scent around their gardens by draping human hair over the plants or leaving jars of human urine around the hemp garden’s perimeter. Alternatively, they can acquire urine from deer predators, such as foxes, bobcats, and coyotes, and spray it around the farm. Deer will stay away, fearing attacks from their predators.
Those who can’t manage to purchase predator urine or collect enough human hair to hang on their plants have another option. All they need to do is combine rotten eggs with water at the ratio of 1:4 and spray the mixture over their plants. This concoction effectively repels deer (as well as humans).
Recovering From a Deer Attack
While it is unlikely for deer to stray into indoor hemp gardens, there is always a chance that they could. As for hemp plantations deep in the woods, deer pressure could be a common phenomenon. Either way, a deer invasion is always possible, and farmers have to learn how to make the best of any given situation.
The animals can occasion a massive loss when they stray into hemp farms and eat up the plants. Sadly, affected farmers have to pick themselves up and start their hemp project afresh. The first place to start would be a reliable and licensed cannabis seeds seller for high-quality hemp seeds. Before purchasing the seeds, they could choose between regular, feminized, or autoflowering seeds. Seed type may depend on the kind of cannabis strain they want to nurture and their goal for their hemp harvest.
Weed planters may also consider growing their crops indoors to avoid future disturbances from hungry deer. It would be much better to grow fewer plants in a safer environment than cultivate many plants outdoors and suffer losses afterward.
Seeking Advice to Protect Hemp From Deer
Hemp growers may want to seek advice from agricultural personnel or other weed farmers before embarking on a cannabis growing mission. They can receive helpful advice on the safest places for weed farming and how to protect crops from various pests and bugs. Growers can also get advice from some US seed banks when choosing their preferred hemp seeds.
A little research before planting cannabis could go a long way in helping to protect hemp from deer. Prospective weed farmers should determine if such animals as deer are likely to show up in the hemp growing areas. Talking to experienced growers can get the hopeful farmer all the information they need before venturing into weed farming.
Apart from deer, there could be other threats to hemp farming, such as rodents. There may be no herbivores with a taste for young cannabis plants in the area, but growers need to be ready for emergencies.
About Fortuna Hemp
Fortuna Hemp is a licensed US online seed bank selling high-quality hemp seeds to clients within the US and Canada. This online seed bank stocks various cannabis seeds, which clients can use to cultivate legal hemp within the US. It also keeps a close eye on the CBD and THC levels to help buyers stay within the state and federal regulations as spelled out in the 2018 Farm Bill.
Do you need more information on the best hemp seeds to grow or how best to protect hemp from deer? Please contact us, or drop a comment in the box below. Don’t forget to check out our list of feminized CBD hemp seeds while you’re here.