BISMARCK - Pheasants clever enough, or hungry enough, to dig up seed corn during this year's planting season may be in for an uncomfortable surprise. The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved the use of Avipel Liquid Corn Seed Treatment and Avipel Dry Powder Corn Seed Treatment. Pheasants or other birds that eat seed corn treated with Avipel will suffer an unpleasant reaction. The equivalent in humans might be a bad stomach ache.
Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring said the exemption to allow the use of Avipel was needed to reduce significant economic loss caused by pheasants, and that the situation in North Dakota meets the EPA's criteria of being an urgent and non-routine.
"Pheasant populations have grown dramatically in North Dakota over the past 10 years," said Goehring. "According to survey data from the 2008 growing season, some growers experienced total losses of corn stands."
Avipel contains a naturally occurring, organic chemical that causes an unpleasant, but harmless reaction in birds that eat treated seeds. The birds learn to avoid feeding on treated seeds and seek other food.
The exemption that allows for the use of Avipel in North Dakota expires April 7, 2010. At that time all unused seed treatment must be returned to the distributor or manufacturer or disposed of in accordance with federal regulations.
- Kim Fundingsland