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Enhancing the cost efficiency of measures to deter winter crop damage by mute swans - VC0118

The main objective of the research is to maximise the cost-effectiveness of the technique of using brightly coloured tape with twine to scare and exclude mute swans from fields of winter crops. Under MAFF project VC0111, this technique showed most promise in reducing mute swan grazing on fields of autumn-sown oilseed rape, when compared to techniques employing white flags and a Ziram-based chemical repellent. This proposal aims to further develop the tape/twine technique and to appraise whether it is practical, cost-effective, humane and environmentally-acceptable.

It is hoped that refinement of the technique will provide a practical and cost-effective alternative to licensed shooting, reducing the need for lethal control and ensuring that DEFRA’s licensing policy is soundly based.

Once the optimum density and configuration of tape/twine on fields is determined, the results can be used to provide advise to farmers, either in advisory leaflets or by Wildlife Consultants.
The main scientific objectives of the research are:

Objective 1: To maximise the cost-effectiveness of the application and maintenance of the tape/twine, by sourcing and testing different materials.
Objective 2: To evaluate the cost-effectiveness of different configurations of tape/twine in reducing mute swan grazing through split-field trials.
Objective 3: To test the practicality and cost-effectiveness of the optimum technique (identified in objectives 1 and 2) through whole-field trials.
Objective 4: To increase the reliability of the current estimate of yield loss due to mute swan grazing of oilseed rape.
Project Documents
• Final Report : Enhancing the cost efficiency of measures to deter winter crop damage by mute swans   (1122k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2001

To: 2005

Cost: £178,242
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Central Science Laboratory
Pest and Weed Control              
Pest Control              
Plants and Animals              
Wildlife Management              
Fields of Study
Wildlife Management