AUBURN, Ala. (WHNT) — Whitetail deer are a “significant economic threat” to row crop farmers across the state — that’s according to a new report from the Alabama Cooperative Extension System (ACES).

Scott Graham, an entomologist with ACES, says they have received reports of deer damage statewide. Now, they’re searching for solutions.

“Farmers are using many different control methods on the farm, but each of them have the same answer when we look to them for solutions: nothing works,” Graham explained.

The report laid out a dismal picture for farmers. During the 2021-22 growing season, whitetail deer damaged 17,653 acres of cotton, 10,490 acres of soybeans, 4,987 acres of peanuts, and 3,915 acres of corn.

Graham said, in total, more than 37,000 acres of crops were affected — and farmers that responded to the survey reported $10,932,195 in total losses.

“This issue is not only widespread, it is very consistent,” Graham said. “95 percent of respondents said deer were a problem every year.”

Graham said ACES doesn’t have many solutions ready to roll out, but noted one farmer in Cherokee County produced positive results with planting sunn hemp as a deer buffer.

Eddie McGriff, a regional extension agent with ACES, said a Meridianville farmer named Mike Tate also experimented with planting sunn hemp.

“Mike planted the sunn hemp at the same time as he planted his cotton,” McGriff said. “While it did provide a buffer during the growing season, the sunn hemp wasn’t established before the cotton was in the ground. Even with a later-than-ideal planting, Mike said the trap crop was somewhat effective but believes it would have been more effective if he was able to plant the sunn hemp earlier.”

Future ideas at Tate’s farm include adding an electric fence in addition to the sunn hemp.

For more information on ACES efforts and concerns about deer management for Alabama farmers, visit aces.edu.