Corn growers urged to participate in pheasant damage survey

BISMARCK – Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring is asking corn growers to participate in a statewide, online survey on the extent of pheasant damage to their crop.

“The survey results will help determine whether a Section 18 emergency exemption is needed in 2012 allowing corn growers to use Avipel® to repel pheasants,” Goehring said. “The results to determine whether the use is needed statewide or just certain parts of the state.”

The online survey can be found at www.surveymonkey.com/s/CORNGROWERS. It is open to all North Dakota corn growers and will close on Jan. 31, 2012.

Producers without Internet access should call the North Dakota Department of Agriculture at (800) 242-7535 to submit their information.

Goehring said the survey contains 12 questions, including percentage of corn acres affected by pheasants; where the damage normally occurs, and the impact of pheasants on yield.

“Farmers should have their 2011 yield monitor reports at hand when completing the survey,” Goehring said. “They will need to enter yield data for specific corn fields, including both the areas of fields affected by pheasants, as well as unaffected fields.”

Manufactured by Arkion Life Sciences LLC, Avipel is a non-lethal repellent applied to corn seeds. It tastes bitter to pheasants, reducing feeding on corn seeds and corn seedlings.

Goehring said the Environmental Protection Agency granted his requests for an emergency exemption for Avipel in 2009 and 2010. The requests were based on economic loss estimates mostly from Hettinger County.

“The EPA was concerned that our economic loss data were concentrated in one area,” Goehring said. “They asked that if we wanted this exemption for statewide use in the future that we would provide additional data to indicate it is a statewide problem. Without the additional data, we would be asked to limit the exemption to only certain parts of the state.”