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Living with Wildlife in Manitoba

Waterfowl Crop Damage Prevention Program

Manitoba Conservation, in cooperation with Environment Canada, assists farmers in preventing damage to crops by ducks, geese and sandhill cranes.

Through this program, farmers can borrow scare cannons, scarecrow materials and shell crackers from Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship offices or Scare Cannon Depots located throughout the province.

From these locations, farmers can also obtain additional information on scaring techniques and farming practices that can help prevent waterfowl crop damage.

Waterfowl Scaring Techniques

how to create a flagFlags or scarecrows are usually the most effective and least expensive scaring method. The flags are typically fashioned from lath and a 3-mil black garbage bag. They should be placed at a rate of one per 10 acres or more, depending on the severity of the situation.

Propane scare cannons make a noise louder than a shotgun blast. One scare cannon per 40 acres provides optimum protection, especially when used with flags or scarecrows. Scare cannons should be timed to detonate every 10 to 20 minutes and they should be moved every 2-3 days.

scare cannonPyrotechnics, also known as shell crackers, can be used to scare waterfowl and greatly enhance the scaring effect of the above mentioned techniques. You must sign a form to receive these from Manitoba Conservation or Scare Cannon Depot. You are also required to use your own 12 gauge shotgun (modified choke or less restrictive) for this purpose. Wear eye and hearing protection when using these shells.

Farm Practices That Reduce Waterfowl Crop Damage
  • Planting faster maturing varieties of grain.
  • Straight-combining cereal grains, whenever possible, rather than swathing.
  • Combing at a slightly higher moisture content and then drying the grain (an ideal practice for early harvesting of quality grain).
  • A crop rotation that includes less vulnerable crops such as canola or flax
  • Delaying tillage practices after harvest can provide enough grain to attract waterfowl away from vulnerable crops.
  • Allowing waterfowl hunting on your land during the open season.
Waterfowl Crop Damage Compensation Program

In spite of prevention efforts, some waterfowl crop damage may occur. If this happens, Manitoba farmers can apply for compensation at 90% of the adjusted commercial value of lost or damaged product.

For more information on waterfowl crop damage compensation, please contact your nearest Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation office.