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Gophers are useful animals in the wild as they aerate the soil, eat insects and mix surface soil layers, but they are a nuisance on the farm when conflict surfaces between the farmer and the gopher over land use. Their economic impact on the farm can be enormous from damaging roots of fruit trees to tunneling through hay fields.
Gophers spend most of their time building extensive burrow systems, which are 4 to 12 inches underground and contain over 500 tunnels. The gopher mound is a unique shape, which extends laterally across the surface in the shape of a fan with plugs or dents placed at the end of the pile. These mounds can range from 12 to 24 inches in diameter and 4 or more inches in height.
Trapping is an effective non-toxic control method on small acreages. The most common type of gopher trap is the u-shaped, spring-type Macabee trap. Find the main runway of the tunnel by poking around in the fresh mounds. You know you have found the main runway when the probe sinks 4 to 12 inches into the ground. It is important to locate the main runway as gophers may not return to lateral tunnels for some time. Dig an opening into the tunnel and place two traps. Attach a wire to each and anchor with a flag for relocation. Leave the hole open as the gopher will return when he senses his burrow has been disturbed. When he comes back to cover the hole, the gopher will trip the trap. The best time to trap is in the fall and spring when gophers are most active. Check traps often and reset when necessary. If you do not catch a gopher within a few days, move the trap to a different location.
Using barn owls to control gophers is an option as well. Installing barn owl boxes will encourage barn owls to make their home on the farm. While barn owls prey on gophers, their habit is to range far from their nesting boxes, so using them as your main control is somewhat unreliable. When a single gopher is damaging an entire farm or crop quickly, quick fixes like trapping or baiting are necessary.
Poison baits are also available for gopher control, but the small farmer must take precautions not to affect other animal populations. Gopher baits contain strychnine and are very effective, but they can also be harmful to hawks, seed-eating birds, owls, and mammalian predators and scavengers including bobcat, foxes and coyotes. When applying bait into a main runway tunnel, make sure not to spill any on the soil surface and close up burrow holes after application. Make three to five bait placements per cluster of fresh mounds. Bait in the spring when gopher food is in low supply.
There are several other methods for controlling gophers including flood irrigating, exclusion, habitat modification and tunnel blasting, but trapping and baiting are the most common. For more information on gopher control as well as vole, mole and squirrel control, go to the OSU Extension catalog for publications on all of these small farm pests.
Sources: Controlling Pocket Gopher Damage to Conifer Seedlings OSU EC1255, Controlling Pocket Gopher Damage to Agricultural Crops OSU EC1117, Pocket Gophers UC Pest Notes 7433
In this free introduction course, you will learn what exactly is "urban agriculture," along with essential definitions and concepts to help you get started on this exciting journey!
Throughout this intro course, you will explore some of the scholarly literature in the field of urban agriculture and investigate and record the basic requirements of your single chosen crop.
By the end, you will have a good understanding of urban agriculture and will know if you would like to continue in the series.
This course is part of ourOnline Urban Agriculture Program. Other courses in the series include:
You can take this course by ...Read full story.
This 3-video presentation revisits a live workshop by Susan Schoenian. Learn about SIPM-Sustainable Integrated Parasite Management in Goats and Sheep. Speaker: Susan Schoenian, Sheep and Goat Specialist at the University of Maryland's Western Maryland Research & Education Center. She represents the American Consortium for Small Ruminant Parasite Control.
Gastrointestinal parasites of sheep and goats are becoming increasingly resistant to currently available commercial de-wormers. Parasite loads not only reduce performance, but can lead to animal death. When sold, infected animals may spread parasites to other pastures. Learn more sustainable methods at this presentation.
Access these three webinar presentations at the reduced price of $25. The links are listed on your registration confirmation. After you have watched the three presentations, contact Maud ...Read full story.
In this Urban Agriculture Systems online course you'll learn the foundational concepts needed to establish a productive growing space, especially within the confines of an urban environment. In this course, we will work through a number of aspects of site planning and management. You'll do a quick examination of your sites soil, practice fertility adjustment and balancing, and consider how your project fits within its social environment.
After completing this course, you'll be able to:
OSU Dry Farming Project
2020 Virtual Field Tour Series
Save the Dates
Mark your calendars! The 2020 Dry Farm Project field tours will be held on Wednesday mornings at 10:00AM in August and September. There will be nine field tours featuring different elements of the five core projects listed below. View more information and a final schedule once posted.
The Dry Farming Project began in 2013 with case studies of farms in Western Oregon and Northern California (coordinated by Community Alliance with Family Farmers) that dry farm a variety of fruit and vegetable crops. These case studies revealed a suite of management practices that support crop production without supplemental irrigation including: careful timing of tillage, early planting, cultivation or surface ...Read full story.
Enjoy an informative and entertaining look at historic and present-day techniques for extending your garden produce throughout the winter months. We will discuss plans for creating a root cellar, ideas for recycling spaces and containers, and specific conditions for various produce. Resource handouts will be provided, and there will be time for Q & A. Via ZOOM!
Presenter: Brief bio:
Tresa has lived in various climates and remote locations where the use of root cellars determined her quality of life after the autumn harvest and before the productivity of gardens in spring. From Glacier Bay, Alaska, a remote island on the Oregon coast to central Oregon high desert and 10,000-foot elevation in Colorado, she has practiced techniques gleaned from ...Read full story.
In 1980 Jack Gray and Mary Jo Wade started Winter Green Farm just 20 miles west of Eugene, five years later Wali and Jabrila Via joined them and in 2009 long-time employees Chris Overbaugh and Shannon Shipp-Overbaugh a...
Manure and bedding collects rapidly on most livestock farms, especially in the winter. Instead of pitching the waste out the back of the barn, consider turning the materials into a valuable, usable product. Compost. If an active compos...
As summer approaches and the soil dries, forage plants become dormant. Some years in drier areas of Oregon dormancy may begin in the late spring. If you have irrigation rights, your pastures can provide supplemental nutrition even duri...
Gophers are useful animals in the wild as they aerate the soil, eat insects and mix surface soil layers, but they are a nuisance on the farm when conflict surfaces between the farmer and the gopher over land use. Their economic impact...