If you need some help deterring blackbirds or other ground-feeding birds from preying on your corn stand, you can make plans now regarding the product Avipel®. This product has been used in our state for several years, but we no longer need to rely on an emergency condition to be declared, because it has been granted a 24c label in the state of Mississippi allowing itsâ€™ use on field or sweet corn seed for the purpose of repelling blackbirds and cowbirds in newly planted corn fields. Avipelâ€™s active ingredient, anthraquinone, is a natural, non-lethal compound proven to repel birds by causing an unpleasant reaction if they feed on corn seed planted in agricultural fields.
Avipel is available in two different formulations for your use â€“ liquid or dry seed treatment. The liquid formulation should adhere to seed better and may reduce distribution issues, compared to the dry formulation. Thus, you may achieve better general performance from the liquid formulation, particularly when dealing with high bird populations. However, you will need to make arrangements for application of the liquid seed treatment prior to planting. The dry formulation offers you the convenience and speediness of hopper-box treatment, but its effectiveness is dependent upon thorough seed coverage and gentle handling. For example, performance of the dry material may not be as good as the liquid form when used in planters with air or vacuum seed metering systems, because the air circulation may remove some of the product from seeds before planting. The use of supplemental dry lubricant on the corn seed may also reduce Avipel seed coverage and/or adherence of the dry formulation, and subsequent repellency.
Mississippi corn is extremely subject to bird predation because it is the first crop planted early in the spring, when waste seed and alternative food sources available are very low and high wintering blackbird populations are often present. Therefore, our earliest corn plantings are particularly vulnerable to bird predation. Furthermore, corn seed and its resultant plant stand are extremely vulnerable to relatively minor stand loss resulting from bird depredation.
Good luck during the 2014 planting season!