LETTER: Farmer’s math: Canada geese do $38 million in damage to bean fieldsWe have had high numbers of geese around here for at least 10 years and the last few the population has really exploded.
By: Richard Meyer, Northville
To the Editor:
We have had high numbers of geese around here for at least 10 years and the last few the population has really exploded.
It used to be that there were just a few around the local lakes, but after the population grew, they spread out and can be found just about everywhere there is some kind of access to water — sometimes just a stock dam.
These geese are big and eat a lot. They love soybeans and will pick out a spot and mow it to the ground.
They really avoid the GF&P and U.S. Fish and Wildlife land because they really do not like to be in tall grass, where they cannot see the predators or anything else they might view as a threat. Plus, green soybeans taste better then dry grass.
So far I have not had any on my soybeans, but my neighbors have had their share.
I estimate that there are about 30 geese on my neighbor’s bean field and so far they have destroyed about 10 acres. (I have been watching this for the last several years; it seems to take about one-third of an acre per goose of soybeans)
Even at 30 bushel an acre times $14 a bushel, that equals $4,200 loss, and the summer is far from over.
$4,200 divided by 30 geese is $140 a goose. Then take that $140 times 269,000 geese to get $37,660,000.
If it takes one-third of an acre a goose, that is 89,666 acres of beans they will eat this year.
The damage by the lakes to the east is probably a lot worse than it is here.
It is one more case where the GF&P does little or nothing and the farmers are suffering a loss because they let the population get out of control.