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Flooding crop fields in winter to attract waterfowl and other wildlife is a management tool that has been used for several years. Ducks and geese are attracted to waste grain and weed seeds, while shorebirds, wading birds and mammals visit flooded fields in search of fish and/or invertebrates. Landowners are interested in this management practice because flooding fields in winter provides a place to hunt (or lease) and is visually pleasing with a variety of wildlife species using the property. In addition, there is evidence that flooding crop fields is actually cost-effective for the producer by providing increased weed control and decreased sedimentation rates.

While wildlife benefits from flooding crop fields are obvious, the effects of winter flooding on agricultural interests need to be evaluated. Several issues deserve investigation, including the impact of winter crop flooding on crop production, pest weeds, soil fertility and erosion. Also, additional information on how soon waterfowl are attracted to flooded fields and the opinions of landowners who have flooded crop fields in the past will be helpful for producers who are interested in this management technique.

Publication Number

SP597-3M-7/02 E12-4915-00-003-03

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