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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Badger damage to growing oats and an assessment of electric fencing as a means of its reduction

Published source details

Wilson C.J. (1993) Badger damage to growing oats and an assessment of electric fencing as a means of its reduction. Journal of Zoology, 231, 668-675


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Install electric fencing to protect crops from mammals to reduce human-wildlife conflict Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A controlled study in 1988–1989 on an arable farm in Devon, UK (Wilson 1993) found that electric fencing reduced damage to an oat Avena sativa crop by badgers Meles meles in one of two years. Results were not tested for statistical significance. In the first year, 1.8–2.6% of crop area in fields protected by electric fencing was damaged by badgers, compared to 9.6% in an unfenced field. In the second year, 2.2–4.3% of fenced crop was damaged compared to 1% of unfenced crop. Electric fences around two fields had parallel wires at 10 cm and 20 cm above the ground. Wires were connected to a fence energiser, powered from a 12-volt battery. A third field was unfenced. Vegetation short circuited the fence, especially in 1988. In 1989, dry conditions may have reduced soil conductivity, thus reducing fence voltage. Damage (mostly flattened stalks) was assessed by walking crops in August 1988 and 1989. Additionally, 1988 data were verified using aerial photographs.

(Summarised by Nick Littlewood)