Controlling Feral Swine in Fort Bend County
Fort Bend County feral swine damage is an ongoing and increasing issue among our producers, and landowners. Thousands of undeveloped acreage in the county is allowing feral hogs to reproduce at an uncontrollable rate. Feral swine are causing thousands of dollars in damage to landscaping, vegetable and fruit crops, underground irrigation systems, and spreading bacteria to rancher’s livestock. Wild hogs occasionally prey on livestock, especially newborn lambs, goats or calves. The total feral swine population in Texas has been estimated recently at 2.6 million, in which one sow can be responsible for reproducing more than 40 piglets in one year.
Derrick Banks, Fort Bend County Agriculture and Natural Resource Extension Agent, makes information available for producers and farmers to trap, prevent, and eliminate feral swine issues. Collaborating with agencies such as Texas Parks and Wildlife, Fort Bend County Master Naturalists Volunteer group, and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) through grant funding provided to the Cooperative Extension Program, Banks has set up demonstrations using corral traps in various areas throughout the county. Data is being collected to monitor behavior, migratory patterns, and trapping methods of feral swine. The data will be collected and uploaded through a network database making it accessible to the public for their use. More than 52 feral hogs have been trapped at strategic Fort Bend County locations since September 1, 2015 saving producers and landowners a tremendous amount of damage to their property.
There is a Texas Department of Agriculture certified cite where the hogs are being transported, weighed, vaccinated, and fed to make the meat edible for human consumption. After the hogs are weighed at the TDA certified holding area, the meat is purchased for an average of .50 cents per pound. The carcasses are processed at a USDA certified slaughterhouse, stamped, packaged, and shipped overseas where feral swine meat is in high demand. Preliminary results have indicated savings on an average of $11,000.00 per year in property damage for producers and landowners. Our research suggests that damage per pig per year averages $200.
This work was supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, 1890 Extension Formula Program projects under Section 1444.
Extension Agent, Fort Bend County