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Crop Damage

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Crop damage is usually confined to certain periods each year, and many growers find it easier to tolerate the nuisance than try to exclude the badgers from their planting areas. Minimising damage is difficult, as badgers are both powerful and determined creatures.

With the Control of Pesticides Regulations (1986) it is illegal to use unapproved chemicals (such as Renardine or RenCoco), not specified for a particular use, so care must be taken in choosing a product. Old-fashioned methods like "stinking-out" (with diesel oil, creosote, etc) are illegal, as those substances damage the sett and may cause permanent harm to the badgers (a protected species).Recent court cases have shown the willingness of the courts to send people to jail who use illegal deterrents (such as diesel oil or creosote or Jeyes Fluid). See the news story from the 11th May 2003 for more details. Given the ban on Renardine, it will remain to be seen whether people will be prosecuted for using Renardine illegally after the 24th March 2005.

Some people (for example, the Cornwall Wildlife Trust - http://www.cornwallwildlifetrust.org.uk/nature/mammals/badger.htm) believe that using bird or animals repellants which contain aluminium ammonium sulphate may be effective against incoming wildlife. In our view they are likely to be less than 100% effective, especially as they are often designed to be taste-repellants to deter animals or birds from eating crops which have been planted for later consumption by humans. There is little information available to indicate how effective these are against badgers. Importantly, as they have not been specifically licensed to deter badgers, such use against badgers may be illegal anyway.

Bulbs liable to attack can be dipped in the powder, and the powder can be mixed with water and sprayed onto lawns during periods when they are liable to be dug. One manufacturer of an aluminium ammonium sulphate deterrent also suggests that raking the powder into the soil around a carrot or potato crop may help reduce losses to wildlife and pets.

If chemical deterrents are used, any crops should be very thoroughly washed before being eaten, and if the compound is applied directly to crops there is a six-week withholding period for fruit and four weeks for other crops.

In terms of commercial crop damage, this can occur because badgers have acquired a taste for the crop concerned, or simply because they play or forage in the crop, which causes the damage. Maize is sometimes damaged, as badgers like to eat it.

Sudden planting of oil-seed rape can transfer badger-related damage to adjacent fields. This is because the roots of the oil-seed rape crop give off a gas which acts as an earth-worm deterrent. As the badgers will have fewer earthworms from the original source, they may concentrate their efforts on nearby fields instead.

The best solution for commercial crop damage is to use appropriate Fencing to keep the badgers out of the crops that need to be protected.

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Legal Notice regarding the banning of Renardine:
Renardine was the only legally permitted chemical deterrent which was effective against badgers. As from the 24th March 2005, Renardine has been banned. Importantly, ALL the approvals for Renardine have now expired. This means that:

* Renardine can no longer be advertised for sale.

* Renardine can not be bought from any shop, wholesaler, mail order, agricultural supplies merchants, internet or by private sale.

* Renardine may no longer be supplied, sold, given away or swapped.

* Renardine may no longer by used.

* Renardine may no longer be stored (so any stocks you have must be disposed of).

RenCoco ( Renardine-impregnated cocoa shells) has also been banned.

For more information see the PSD's web site at http://www.pesticides.gov.uk/approvals.asp?id=1567

About Wildlife Consultants
Laws protect badgers from being harmed and their homes damaged. Whilst permits can be issued to allow such badgers to be moved, you need to have professional research done to see where the badgers are and what they need. In commercial property development, finance and logistics can be very important. Also, if an insurance company is paying for re-building work, they may want to be certain that the commercial risks are understood too. Wildlife Consultants are usually highly experienced at dealing with such legal and commercial issues and should be able to help mitigate the risks. Wildlife consultants help deal with protected species, making sure that developers understand the law AND the needs of any animals. Local Badger Groups may also conduct badger surveys, and we run our own email-based Ask An Expert service.