LSU is testing ‘pig brigs’ to help solve the state’s costly feral hog problem

LSU is moving into controlled field trials of a patent-pending bait to address wild, invasive pigs that are causing millions in damage to Louisiana farms.

With $50,000 in recent support from the Louisiana legislature and $120,000 from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, LSU researchers are testing the new bait using “pig brigs,” which are large nets that pigs can push under but become trapped inside when they try to get out. The bait makes the hogs fall asleep.

“To get federal approval and ability to commercialize this, we have to prove the pigs won’t just eat our baits at the research station, but also in the wild,” says Glen Gentry, an animal scientist and director and coordinator of two LSU AgCenter research stations. “The good news about getting them in the nets is that it makes it a lot easier for us to measure effectiveness.”

Most farmers in Louisiana suffer economic damage due to wild pigs, according to LSU AgCenter surveys. The cost has increased from about $70 million to over $90 million in recent years. While sugarcane, rice and corn are the most affected crops, the state’s leading agricultural industry—forestry—is also at risk, as pigs uproot seedlings.

As a way to fight the swelling population of feral hogs, the Louisiana Legislature last month considered a bill that would put a $5 bounty on each hog tail turned into the state government. But the legislation was parked in committee after Commissioner of Agriculture Mike Strain said there are more cost-effective ways to combat the hog issues.

Read the full rundown on the bait project from LSU.

This story originally appeared in a May 8 issue of Daily Report. To keep up with Baton Rouge business and politics, subscribe to the free Daily Report e-newsletter here.