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GOPHER

Economics of Damage and Control

It is relatively easy to determine the value of the forage lost to pocket gophers. Botta’s pocket gophers at a density of 32 per acre (79/ha) decreased the forage yield by 25% on foothill rangelands in California, where the plants were nearly all annuals. Plains pocket gophers reduced forage yield on rangelands in western Nebraska by 21% to 49% on different range sites. Alfalfa yields in eastern Nebraska were reduced as much as 46% in dryland and 35% in irrigated alfalfa. Losses of 30% have been reported for hay meadows.

Calculating the cost of control operations is only slightly more complicated. However, the benefit-cost analysis of control is still not straightforward. More research data are needed on managing the recovery of forage productivity. For example, should range be fertilized, rested, or lightly grazed? Should gopher mounds on alfalfa be lightly harrowed? A study of northern pocket gopher control on range production in southern Alberta indicated that forage yields increased 16%, 3 months after treatment. The potential for complete yield recovery the first year following gopher removal has been noted for a fibrous-rooted variety of alfalfa.

Economic assessment should also be made to determine the cost of no control, the speed of pocket gopher infestation, and the costs associated with dulled or plugged mowing machinery or mechanical breakdowns caused by the mounds. Assessment could also be made for damages to buried cable, irrigation structures, trees, and so on.

The benefits of pocket gophers also complicate the economic analysis. Some of these benefits are: (1) increased soil fertility by adding organic matter such as buried vegetation and fecal wastes; (2) increased soil aeration and decreased soil compaction; (3) increased water infiltration and thus decreased runoff; and (4) increased rate of soil formation by bringing subsoil material to the surface of the ground, subjecting it to weathering.

Decisions on whether or not to control gophers may be influenced by the animals’ benefits, which are long-term and not always readily recognized, and the damage they cause, which is obvious and sometimes substantial in the short-term. Landowners who are currently troubled by pocket gophers can gain tremendously by studying the gophers’ basic biology. They would gain economically by learning how to manage their systems with pocket gophers in mind, and aesthetically by understanding how this interesting animal “makes a living.”

The distribution of gophers makes it unlikely that control measures will threaten them with extinction. Local eradication may be desirable and cost-effective in some small areas with high-value items. On the other hand, it may be effective to simply reduce a population. There are also times when control is not cost-effective and therefore inadvisable. Complete control may upset the long-term integrity of ecosystems in a manner that we cannot possibly predict from our current knowledge of the structure and function of those systems.

Product   SKU   Description   Price    
Chipmunk / Rat Galvanized Metal Collapsible Live Animal Traps with 1/2" x 1" Wire Grid
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201 It is the most perfect trap for catching chipmunks and rats because of its small ½ x 1 inch wire mesh openings (16" x 5" x 5")
$60.25
$37.86
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Chipmunk / Rat Galvanized Metal Live Animal Traps with 1/2" x 1" Wire Grid
In Stock
102 It is the most perfect trap for catching chipmunks and rats because of its small ½ x 1 inch wire mesh openings (16" x 5" x 5")
$29.50 Price Details
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Chipmunk / Rat Galvanized Metal Live Transfer Animal Traps with 1/2" x 1" Wire Grid
In Stock
602 It is the most perfect trap for catching chipmunks and rats because of its small ½ x 1 inch wire mesh openings (16" x 5" x 5")
$34.72 Price Details
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Extension Handle Net (6' - 18') for Control & Capture of Smaller Animals
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Extention Net Perfect for smaller animals from bats and chipmunks, to cats and small dogs
$81.99
$77.89
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Professional Chipmunk / Rat Galvanized Metal Live Animal Traps with 1/2" x 1/2" Wire Grid
In Stock
102SS It is the most perfect trap for catching chipmunks and rats because of its small ½ x ½ inch wire mesh openings (16" x 5" x 5")
$39.99
$33.93
Price Details
- + Add To Cart

Professional Chipmunk / Rat Galvanized Metal Live Transfer Animal Traps with 1/2" x 1/2"  Wire Grid
In Stock
602SS It is the most perfect trap for catching chipmunks and rats because of its small ½ x ½ inch wire mesh openings (16" x 5" x 5")
$49.99
$39.93
Price Details
- + Add To Cart

Quick Draw Collapsible Nets for Birds, Rats, Cats & other Small Animals
In Stock
Quick Draw Nets These nets are a handy addition to any small wildlife control operator. Being a collapsible design, it folds up for easy storage and transport.
$36.99
$35.14
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