Thursday, May 18, 2017

HOG WILD: Farmers, ranchers hope to tackle porcine problem

Several times in the past year, Ray Joy Pfannstiel has awoken to destroyed crop fields. The culprit — feral hogs. These animals have harassed farmers and ranchers across the state, and Pfannstiel’s farm has been no exception “I guess it really started last year to some extent but, this year, it seems to be more frequent,” he said. “There have been more of them throughout (that time). Two years ago, we didn’t have any hogs at our place but last year that changed.” These animals have been a thorn in the side of Texan farmers and ranchers for more than a decade — and are becoming an increasingly difficult problem to solve, Guadalupe County AgriLife extension agent Travis Franke said. “Within the last 15 to 20 years, the populations have really exploded and have gotten out of hand,” he said. “When we get high numbers like we do in some cases, they can cause extreme damage to hayfields. They can also do a lot of damage to our row crop situations. We’ve had a couple of farmers even this year that have planted corn and had to go in there and replant because the hogs come right down the row after them and eat the seeds that they planted.” The feral hogs generally come out after dark, which allows them to cause the most damage, Pfannstiel said. “Our location is by a creek with a lot of brush that they can hide in during the day,” he said. “They have water they can use to keep cool, then come on out at night. For us, within the last two years, it’s gotten really bad.” Feral hogs are responsible for an estimated $52 million of damage to Texas agricultural products each year, Franke said...more

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