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Deer dining on your crops? Free special seed blends might help

Holly Viers • Aug 18, 2018 at 8:30 PM

GATE CITY — Whether you’re a large-scale farmer or a casual gardener, deer can sometimes cause problems by eating your crops.

That’s why the Scott County Soil and Water Conservation District is holding its first-ever seed giveaway next week in Gate City. The free seed blends are designed to attract deer, thereby luring them away from other crops in the farm or garden.

“We’re seeing deer numbers increase so much that the farmers are losing a lot of their hay to deer and other wildlife,” said Matthew Wood, conservation specialist. “So, hopefully, by providing a place for the deer to kind of congregate to, they might not each as much of their crops.”

Strategic seed blends

Wood, who studied wildlife and fisheries science at the University of Tennessee, said the seed blends were specifically chosen with deer in mind.

“We’re giving away wheat and oats, and the smaller seed blend we’re giving away is crimson clover, chicory, radishes and turnips,” Wood said. “My degree’s in wildlife management, so we studied and I reached out to some old classmates and professors and figured out the best blend.”

How to get your seeds

The giveaway will be held Wednesday, Aug. 22, beginning at 8:30 a.m. at the USDA Gate City Service Center. Seeds will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis, and you must be present to claim your seeds.

Wood added that each bag of seeds will be enough to plant one-fourth of an acre.

Following up

Wood said he hopes to follow up in the spring with some of those who receive the seeds to determine how successful the blends were at keeping deer away from their other crops.

“We’ll get their name and number when they pick it up and do a follow-up and see kind of what the wildlife liked the best,” Wood said, “and if we decide to do it next year, critique it a little bit and see what drew them in.”

For more information, call (276) 885-3122.

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