European Journal of Wildlife Research

, Volume 55, Issue 6, pp 583–588 | Cite as

Evaluation of potential deer browsing impact on sunflower (Helianthus annus)

  • Jiří KamlerEmail author
  • Miloslav Homolka
  • Radim Cerkal
  • Marta Heroldová
  • Jarmila Krojerová-Prokešová
  • Miroslava Barančeková
  • Jan Dvořák
  • Karel Vejražka
Original Paper


Large herbivores are the key species for game management in the Central Europe. Analyses of factors affecting the feeding behaviour of herbivores and consequences of their browsing are therefore highly important both for farmers and for game managers as the protective measurements should be focused on the most threatened fields. The influence of fallow (Dama dama) and roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) browsing during vegetation period on sunflower production was studied. The experiment was carried out in 2006 on a field located near a forest complex. We marked out pairs of paired permanent plots and monitored deer impact regularly from the emergence of plants until the harvest. Herbivores damaged the sunflower intensively immediately after the emergence at the height of 1 to 2 cm above the ground. When the plants had reached approximately 15-40 cm in height, deer browsed the top shoots and as the plants grew higher the browsing was restricted to leaves or to substitute stems of the previously browsed plants. Sunflower ceased to attract big herbivores in flowering stage. Browsing significantly affected the yield of seeds. Approximately one half of the plants that had been damaged in early stage died as well as 12.5% of plants that had been damaged at second term; the rest produced substitute stems. Almost 33% of the substitute stems did not form disc florets; the second third of them formed disc florets with a diameter of 6-8 cm, and the last third set disc florets with a diameter of 8-10 cm.


Game damages Wild herbivores Oil crop Yield loss 



This study was supported by NAZV grant agency, project no. QF4192 and by project MSM2629608001 and by the Czech Ministry of Education, grant LC06073. Authors declare that all experiments were in compliance with the current laws of the Czech Republic.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jiří Kamler
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Miloslav Homolka
    • 1
  • Radim Cerkal
    • 2
  • Marta Heroldová
    • 1
  • Jarmila Krojerová-Prokešová
    • 1
  • Miroslava Barančeková
    • 1
  • Jan Dvořák
    • 2
  • Karel Vejražka
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute of Vertebrate BiologyAcademy of Sciences of the Czech RepublicBrnoCzech Republic
  2. 2.Mendel University of Agriculture and ForestryBrnoCzech Republic
  3. 3.Agricultural research, LtDTroubskoCzech Republic

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