Dept. of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection: Comments requested on crane-repellant pesticide

Contact: Donna Gilson, 608-224-5130,

Bill Cosh, Communications Director, 608-224-5020,

MADISON – The public can comment through Nov. 19 on a special pesticide registration that would allow Wisconsin corn growers to treat seed with a non-lethal repellant to stop sandhill crane feeding.

The special registration proposed by the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection will allow field and sweet corn growers to use Avipel® Liquid Seed Treatment and Avipel® Hopper Box (dry) Corn Seed Treatment on seed corn. Both contain the active ingredient 9,10-anthraquinone.

Arkion Life Sciences manufactures Avipel® products. With support from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the International Crane Foundation, the company sought the special local needs registration to address the problem of crop damage from sandhill cranes.

Sandhill cranes dig in the soil to find seed corn, and can cause crop losses up to 60 percent. Avipel® has a bad taste and a laxative effect, so cranes stop eating the seed corn. However, it does not have lethal effects. About three-quarters of Wisconsin’s 4 million acres of cornfields lies in crane habitat.

The preliminary environmental assessment indicates that the proposed registration will not require a full environmental impact statement. This special pesticide registration will expire July 1, 2018.

For a copy of the assessment or to email comments, contact Otto Oemig,, 608-224-4547. It is also available for review 7:45 a.m.-4:30 p.m. weekdays at the department, 2811 Agriculture Drive, Madison, WI 53704. Written comments may also be mailed to that address, ATTN Otto Oemig. Comments received by Friday, Nov. 19, will become part of the preliminary environment assessment record.

Although neither product is currently registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Avipel® has been used previously under EPA emergency exemptions and a previous special use registration that expired July 1. The special registration process is an alternative that allows states to register pesticide products for special local needs, without prior EPA approval.