EPA has approved an emergency exemption that will provide protection to corn producers throughout the Mississippi from blackbird predation of newly planted corn.

Mississippi corn growers throughout the state have suffered million dollar losses in recent years due to heavy blackbird predation.

The products receiving emergency exemption under Section 18 of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act are Avipel liquid seed treatment and Avipel hopper box corn seed treatment manufactured by Arkion Life Sciences, LLC, announced Mississippi Agriculture Commissioner Lester Spell.

Corn producers may treat corn seed with Avipel prior to planting to prevent blackbirds and from consuming the seed.

Avipel contains the active ingredient anthraquinone, which occurs naturally in some plants, fungi, and insects. As a bird repellant, anthraquinone works as a taste deterrent.

Corn is extremely subject to bird predation in Mississippi because it is the first crop planted in early spring, when the presence of native and crop seed are very low and high wintering blackbird populations are present. Bird predation during the corn seed germination and plant establishment stages kills seedlings, which reduces plant density, leading to considerable yield reduction.

For additional information, corn producers may contact the Mississippi Bureau of Plant Industry at (662) 325-3390 or toll-free at (888) 257-1285.