Gopher management in permanent and alfalfa pastures
Anyone have tricks that are not too time consuming to manage gophers in pasture? Here is a summary of advice I've had the past year:
-Trapping with the cinch traps can work, but is very time consuming
-A propane/O2 igniter that is supposed to create a shock wave and kill them didn't really work for me last year
-Some people mentioned putting bubble gum in the holes as when they eat it they can't digest and will rupture intestine?
-There are devices that will capture your Pickup exhaust gas, cool it, compress it and then you can inject into the holes to suffocate them?
-injecting poison pellets into the ground in hopes they find and eat them...
-Last person I talked to mentioned attracting great horn owls to your property as they will keep populations in check...
Those are all the ideas I've heard, managing hundreds of acres of alfalfa and don't have time to set cinch traps, "keep a gun" in the truck shoot them when seen, and the propane igniter didn't work. Seems like it might take 2 years or more to attract owls.
If you have the ability to irrigate, Flooding them out buy any means possible is a good place to start. We do this with our center pivots in the spring and late fall as well as in the normal irrigation cycles throughout the year. Then we use several of the H&M PERC machines (compressed CO2) Year round if possible to keep them under control.
You can check these machines out at H&M gopher control. The mid size machine is what we use. I wouldn’t go smaller, but I would go bigger when we purchase another one.
It takes labor and persistence to keep gophers under control no matter the method. Poison and Aluminum Phosphide tables can work, but they are dangerous to humans and other unintended animals. Also, the reporting and protection needed for WPS aren’t worth the hassle.
Find a supplier that sells NH3 valves, hoses, gloves and goggles, and purchase gloves, goggles, two 1 1/4" npt angled hose end valves with 1 3/4" female acme-saftey couplers.
Also you will need a 1 1/4"x 30' transfer hose rated for anhydrous ammonia. Fasten 1 1/4" npt X 1 3/4" acme valve/saftey coulpler assemby to each end of the 30' transfer hose.
Load your new hose assembly in pickup and head to the coop. Have the coop weigh out a single 1000 gallon NH3 nurse tank. Take hose assembly and tank to the field and park tank upwind from the gopher mounds.
(The following will have to be done in the spring if you live in Iowa.) Take a spade and dig to find the gopher run. Usually they are only a few inches deep. Pull the dirt out of the hole to expose 1-2' of the run.
Put on your approved PPE (gloves and goggles) that you purchased with your hose and valves.
Take one end of your hose assembly and spin the valve open all the way. DO NOT ATTACH IT TO TANK YET.
Stick the open hose end valve in the gopher run and pack about 4 inches of dirt on it so that valve and saftey coupler completely covered.
Now with the opposite end of the hose assembly, MAKE SURE THE VALVE IS CLOSED , and attach it to the liquid withdraw valve on the anhydrous tank.
Make sure connection is secure and slowly open liquid withdraw valve on the tank. YOU DONT NEED TO OPEN IT ALL THE WAY. About half will be plenty.
Now you can regulate the flow with the hose end valve attached to the tank at a safe distance from the discharge end of the hose.
It dosen't take much . When you see smoke coming up 25 ft away from where you stuck the hose in the ground, that is good enough.
Shut off all valves starting with tank, and re locate to another problem area.
You could easily spend a full day and $1000 on equpment and fertilizer, but this method works very well and you get added benefit from the nitrogen in your pasture.
Keep in mind anhydrous is very dangerous !! Dont get in a hurry and use common sense you will be fine. If you have never worked around the stuff then I would advise not doing it
I haven't tried yet but have talked with some large producers that simply apply anhydrous to the field just like they were growing corn there (lessor rate). you get the N from it and it kills the gophers. Some of them mentioned rolling afterward to push the furrow closed. others said it is minimal and washes in with the rain.
As an Australian reading this, all I can see is Caddy Shack the movie . I understand it is a huge issue for you guys and we simply have no reference point for it over here. All the best