Sustainable Agriculture Practices and the Benefits for Wildlife Populations. Specifically Bobwhite Quail (Colinus virginianus) and the economic benefits to Midwestern farmers.
Bobwhite Quail and Sustainable Agriculture • Project consisted of surveying two 80 acre parcels of land in Northern Geary county. • Surveys measured land use practices as they pertain to agriculture and game bird habitat • The surveys were taken from a NRCS quail suitability index and from The River Friendly Farm.
Quail Index Nesting Cover % and size. Brood Habitat Covey Headquarters Food Interspersion Agricultural Index Soil Tilth and Water Management Pest Management Soil and Natural Resource Soil Nutrient Management Conservation ( Includes Watersheds, Cropland, Grassland and Woodlands) Surveys
Agriculture and Wildlife • Why have species have suffered a decline in populations? • Sustainable agricultural practices that benefit wildlife and Agriculture. • Economic incentives for land owners. • Species of economic interest and there habitat needs.
Agriculture and Habitat • Post World War II agricultural practices changed to a “clean farming” attitude. • Changes included intensified use of herbicides, pesticides and increased use of edge areas used by many forms of wildlife. • The reduction of these edge areas has led to increased erosion, water contaminants and loss of habitat and forage for wildlife species. • An example of a species affected by habitat reduction is the Northern Bobwhite quail, who’s population have declined form 59 million birds in 1980 to 20 million birds in 1999. That a 39 million bird reduction in19yrs. (NRCS)
Quail Detriment to haying schedule. Increase in upland forest has increased perching areas for predatorial raptors. Greater prairie chicken Loss of open upland habitat to forest encroachment. Increased predation by raptors. Increase in nest parasitism (Harris 1988) More decimating factors
Bobwhite Quail habitat needs. • Bobwhite Quail- Edge area of woodland and grassland or agricultural field interface. Area should have shrub cover, native grasses 30 to 120 ft. in width. Area needs to have insects for juvenile birds and small grains or native legumes for adults (NRCS).
Sustainable Agricultural Practices that Benefit Wildlife • Planting native grass/legume and shrub conservation buffer strips. • Appropriate Haying Schedule (Kansas Nesting Season-April 15 - July 15 Haying- Season July 16 - August 15) • Reduce trees form edge area. • Contour Strip cropping practices that include small grains for wildlife forage. • Leave residue for forage and cover. • BMP for insect control. Don’t apply pesticides to last three agricultural rows.
Reasons to Take Land out of production and Manage for Wildlife • Subsidized programs available to help conserve soil, water quality and wildlife habitat. • Hunting • Niche markets available for Agro and Eco-tourism.
The Value of Hunting • In South Dakota Pheasant hunting has become a multimillion dollar industry. • Income can range form $10,000-50,000. • Hunting season occurs during the agricultural slow portion of the year.
Wild Turkey White tailed and Mule Deer Greater Prairie Chicken Northern Bobwhite Quail Ring-necked Pheasant Harvestable Species of Economic Value
The value of conservation • Conservation of upland game birds extends to non-game bird species. • Non-game birds that are positively affected include the Bell’s vireo, orchard oriole, painted bunting, loggerhead shrike, sedge wren, grasshopper sparrow, dickcissel, and Henslow’s sparrow.