It’s become a rite of winter at Rogue Farms in Tygh Valley, Oregon. A battle with invaders from the north.
Hundreds of Canada Geese descend upon the farm this time of year to raid our Risk™ malting barley. From the air, the vast fields of green barley shoots are a target that’s too attractive to pass up.
We go on the counter offensive, harassing the geese with rifle shots in the air, riding through fields in our ATVs, or sending the dogs out to chase them away. These skirmishes drag on for weeks or months.
This year, the geese outsmarted us.
Somehow they figured out that we can’t go after them when it’s dark. They started raiding us at night so they can nibble on our malting barley in peace.
We are modifying our strategy to adapt to the new battlefield.
Thankfully, the geese rarely cause permanent damage. When they do, we can replant the malting barley in the spring after the geese have moved on.
But this season’s predation is heavier than usual. It’s also frustrating to see the barley that’s supposed to go into our beers and spirits wind up in the stomach of a goose.
Since we grow malting barley in an area as beautiful as Tygh Valley, with so much wildlife surrounding us, we’ve come to expect to lose a little bit of our crop to geese, turkey and deer. We grow our beers, spirits, ciders and sodas in collaboration with Mother Nature, and sometimes she demands a small “tax”.