2 June 1995

SHOCK FOR RABBITS…

RABBITS remain key pests on many a farm, and CSL has designed a new type of fence to deter them.

Gordon McKillop and Dylan Poole have just completed research to develop the electrified wire system, and the results of a rabbit management trial along with the fence itself will be on display at the show.

The initial design was proved in a series of MAFF-funded enclosure experiments and was found to be over 95% effective. It was then tested and modified during a two-year field trial funded by HDC.

In it, the fence was erected around fields of cauliflower. At the end of the trial fewer than 5% of the protected plants had been eaten by rabbits. In fields where growers used their own control methods to protect the plants, as many as 40% were consumed.

The fence is commercially available at just over £1/m. Most farmers and growers of arable and horticultural crops with even moderate infestations of rabbits – 20/ha (8/acre) – should recover the cost within one or two years, say the researchers.