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MADISON – The public can comment through Aug. 22 on a special pesticide registration that would allow Wisconsin corn growers to treat seed with a non-lethal repellent to stop sandhill cranes from feeding on planted corn.

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

Arkion Life Sciences manufactures Avipel®. With support from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the International Crane Foundation and USDA-Wildlife Services, 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 feed on seed corn, and can cause crop losses up to 60 percent. Avipel® has a bad taste and a laxative effect, to deter cranes from 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 30, 2019.

For a copy of the assessment or to email comments, contact Alyssa Foss, alyssa.foss@wisconsin.gov, 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 Alyssa Foss.

Comments received by Wednesday, Aug. 22, will become part of the preliminary environment assessment record.

The product is not currently registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The special registration process will allow farmers to buy Avipel®-treated seed corn this fall for planting next spring. Special registrations allow states to register pesticide products for special local needs, without prior EPA approval.

Avipel® has been used previously under EPA emergency exemptions and a previous special use registration that expired July 1.

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