The increase of wild animals in recent years it has become a real problem for farmers and ranchers of the regions of Ponent, which see more and more frequently how wildlife damages their crops. Faced with this, the sector has long been asking the Government for efficient measures to combat these pests, such as using biocides to reduce the rabbit population or a plan to sterilize female wild boars. On the contrary, “in two years there will be more boars than farmers”, warns the farmer and president of Asaja Lleida, Pere Roqué, who adds that in the Lleida orchard there are wild boars that eat the roots of young fruit trees and this means that the trees take twice as long to start producing.
Wild animal attacks on crops are becoming more frequent in the plain of Lleida, a situation that farmers have been complaining about for some time. “We are tired of it,” says Pere Roqué, who regrets the lack, on the part of the Government, of an effective plan to reduce the number of deer, roe deer and rabbits, and also criticizes that the administrations “pass the ball” without put a solution to this problem that causes the loss of food production and an extra financial expense for farmers.
The solutions proposed by Asaja Lleida, the hunting bandare to use biocides in the case of rabbit pests and a plan d‘sterilization of female wild boars to prevent the reproduction of the species. If this is not stopped and the wild boars are allowed to reproduce at the rate of about seven calves per animal, Roqué states that “in two years there will be more wild boars than farmers”.
And the fact is that the agricultural union reports that the economic losses caused by wildlife on farms are ten times higher than what a plan to sterilize female wild boars or a plan to apply biocides would cost. “If we withdraw aid so that people can make food and on the other hand we are producing to feed wildlife instead of people, someone here has to fix it,” adds Roqué.
Boars make fruit trees take twice as long to produce
An example of the damage that wildlife causes in the fields can be seen in a farm of young apple trees in the Lleida orchard near the term of Corbins. The presence of wild boars in this field has gone from being anecdotal to being constant and what they are looking for are the roots of the apple trees to feed on. The most visible trace they leave are areas with the earth removed and holes that can reach more than 30 centimeters, although their footprint can also be seen in the growth of trees. The fruit trees were planted two years ago and should be between 2 and 2.5 meters tall, although the reality is that many do not even reach a meter.
This affectation causes the trees to take up to twice as long to start producing. “If at 4 years the tree had to produce 80% and at 6 to do it at 100%, now we are going to 10 years, that stops here. If not, it will have to be uprooted and the farmer he will have lost 15 years”, explains Roqué, who adds that apart from the loss of production that this means for the farmer, you must also add the expense of re-covering the holes in the ground to put the farm back to the way it was before and avoid accidents with machinery.