Standing Crops Co-Op Farms - The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-12-2018, 06:40 PM Thread Starter
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Standing Crops Co-Op Farms

I hunt a few places where the state owns some land that is privately farmed and for the benefit of wildlife the farmers are required to leave a small percentage of their crops standing through the winter into early spring when they can then be harvested. I have noticed in most cases the crops left standing are usually left in very narrow strips located out towards the middle of the harvested wide open fields. Farmers hardly ever leave the crops standing as wider strips along field edges near brushy or woody cover where the standing crops would be the most benefit to wildlife as they would be less vulnerable to predators and feel safer feeding along these brushy edges instead of out in the wide open harvested parts of the fields.

I think it's likely that some of the reasons this happens is because the crops are less likely to be consumed by wildlife out in the middle of the fields and they are also most likely easier to harvest in those more open parts of the fields so in the early spring the farmer can harvest more of the left over crops. This practice seems to run counter to the original intention of leaving some crops standing for the benefit of wildlife.

I think the state should try to convince these farmers to leave the crops standing in wider strips that run parallel to field edges that provide good winter cover. Who would be the best person with the state to discuss this with where a positive change might be likely?

What do you think?
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-12-2018, 07:06 PM
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The farmers do not care about leaving food for wildlife. The only reason they leave any standing is because they are required by contract to leave a certain percentage of the crop stand for wildlife. They do not harvest it, they are not allowed to harvest it as it is part of their payment for planting on game lands. If you would like the standing crops to be left standing in a different place the PGC would have to write that into the contract. However, it is better for wildlife if the standing crop is further away from the edge of the fields because the edges are where most of the deer, raccoon and squirrel damage happens so there is more food left in the middle than the edges after the harvest. It is no great feat for wildlife to walk to the center of a field to eat or seek shelter.

When you are up to your butt in alligators, it is hard to remember your intent was to drain the swamp. Stay focused!
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-12-2018, 07:31 PM Thread Starter
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Woods walker,
I've been told by farmers that they are permitted to harvest the crops in the early spring that they had to leave standing during the winter.

It does make a difference when standing crops border good winter cover vs being out in the middle of a wide open area.

Standing crops that border good winter cover always draws and maintains more wildlife than narrow crop strips out in the open. Wider crop strips and cover strips that border escape cover make it easier for wildlife to access the crops while being more hidden, less exposed and easier to escape from predators.
Upland conservation biologists always recommend wider cover strips vs narrow cover strips and food plots closer to good escape cover vs food plots that are out in the open distant from escape cover.

I've also seen first hand evidence of the difference a number of times.

Last edited by cmrosko; 01-12-2018 at 07:34 PM.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-12-2018, 07:51 PM
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If that is the case it is something new because I never heard of it in over 30 years with the PGC. The fact remains that the crops left standing are part of the payment for allowing the farmers to farm PGC land and If I wanted to leave crops standing for food, I would want it where a lot of the food was not already gone as it is along the edges of the field. what is along the edges is more cover than food. The bottom line is, if you want it changed it is the PGC that will have to change the terms of the contract.

When you are up to your butt in alligators, it is hard to remember your intent was to drain the swamp. Stay focused!
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-13-2018, 09:41 AM
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If the intent is to feed deer or raccoons, then I agree with Woods walker in that it doesn't matter if there are thin strips of corn 75 - 100 yards from any cover rather than along the edge. But since this is a small game forum, I believe cmrosko is making his suggestion in regards to small game, in which case the wider strips closer to cover would be much more beneficial.

I also think some of the land to which you are referring is Army Corps of Engineer (ACE) land. I know the PGC is involved to a degree with that land, but I'm not sure if it is the PGC or the ACE who you would need to approach to ask to have it changed.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-13-2018, 08:07 PM
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Co-Op farms and forests are not owned by the PGC.

Hunt, Fish, Vote! I support AR and Sunday hunting. Life Member of NRA and TU.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-14-2018, 07:59 PM Thread Starter
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dap, You are right my emphasis includes the consideration of small game.
Some of the acreage I am referring to is federal land. I think some wildlife associated gov. is probably also involved.
Maybe I should just connect with a local game warden.
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