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Deer Antlers Hard On Tractor, Combine Tires
An overpopulation of deer around many areas of the country is creating challenges for crop farmers. Not only do the deer eat the crops, they also shed their antlers which often puncture expensive tractor and combine tires.
  “We’ve had a rash of punctures,” says Michael Mielke, who farms near Easton, Md. “The neighbor had 4 in a week. This year we had 3 punctures – 2 tractor tires and a combine tire. The spray man had 2 tires punctured.”
  Mielke’s brother, Tom, noticed an antler in the tire of their John Deere 9570 combine when he came to relieve Mike who was combining wheat in June.
  They patched the hole with 3 plugs and were grateful the antler didn’t tear up the sidewall. It costs about $3,000 to replace a combine tire. Just having a tire serviced in the field costs a couple hundred dollars, Mielke adds.
  He attributes the problem to two things.
  “Years ago we ran over antlers but the ground wasn’t hard. Now we don’t till the soil, and that makes the difference. When it’s dry the ground is firm,” he says.
  The other factor is the large population of deer. Every year Mielke finds about 40 antlers and skulls on the 1,300 acres he owns and rents. That’s a big turnaround from when he was growing up.
  “When I was a kid in the early 60’s, they would stop the schoolbus so we could look at a deer,” Mielke recalls.
  He explains that deer were pretty much eradicated in the area during Colonial times and were reintroduced after WWII. Seasons were restricted for many years, but now hunters can take two bucks and up to 10 does, including archery and muzzleloaders.
  “Development pressure has fragmented the larger farms around the Chesapeake Bay and created great habitat for deer,” Mielke says.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Michael Mielke, 9644 Leeds Landing Circle, Easton, Md. 21601 (ph 410 310-3635; talbotfarmer@yahoo.com).

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2017 - Volume #41, Issue #5