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Pest Management in Deer Farming: First Steps Toward Best Practices


Deer on farms may be kept in pens (left) or free roaming (right). Penned deer are typically high-value animals that are used for breeding, whereas free-roaming deer are more often used to provide hunting opportunities. (Photos courtesy of University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Cervidae Health Research Initiative)

By Emma Weeks, Ph.D.

“Deer farming is a relatively new livestock industry in the United States; as of 2007 there were approximately 8,000 farms nationwide. Farmed deer are used for breeding stock, meat, creating hunting opportunities, and scent collection. However, as deer farming is a young and growing industry, limited information is available about the methods farmers are using to manage insect and plant pests.” writes Dr. Emma Weeks in a recent post on the Entomology Today blog.

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Deer Farms and Farmers: Who Are They and Why Study Them?

Emma Weeks, Ph.D.

Emma Weeks, Ph.D.

Dr. Weeks continues, “To ensure that management of deer pests on deer farms is safe, sustainable, and environmentally sound, it would be beneficial to establish education materials and best management practices for deer farmers to use. The first step in this process is to find out what tools and techniques deer farmers currently use to manage insect and plant pests on their properties.

In a new paper published last week in the Journal of Integrated Pest Management, we provide a comprehensive summary of the management of plant and arthropod pests by deer farmers in Florida. We obtained our information by distributing a survey to stakeholders of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Cervidae Health Research Initiative.”

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Emma Weeks, Ph.D., serves as a courtesy faculty member, in the role of assistant research scientist in medical and veterinary entomology, at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences in Gainesville, Florida. Email: