What you need to know: In 2023, EPA rescinded the product label for the dry formulation of Avipel. While ongoing review happens, Michigan farmers cannot use the dry formulation of the product but can use the liquid form and apply it at planting.
Background: Avipel (active ingredient 9,10-anthroquinone) is a commonly used bird-repellent seed treatment of corn in Michigan and around the United States. Avipel has historically been available in both dry and liquid form and is primarily used for the protection of corn seed against consumption by sandhill cranes. The product does not harm sandhill cranes, rather it is designed to create temporary digestive distress in birds that consume corn seeds treated with the product. Generally, this experience will cause cranes to move on to a different feeding location.
Sandhill cranes are a migratory bird species that are present in Michigan in the spring and fall. Sandhill crane populations have been steadily increasing in recent years leading to more frequent crop damage and loss, particularly in seed corn fields, but also in field corn, sweet corn, and wheat. Damage from cranes can be extensive, as cranes pluck small seedlings out of the ground to consume the seed that is still attached. One Michigan corn producer observed 5 acres of damage by sandhill cranes overnight.
Despite a previous label for the dry formulation of Avipel in Michigan, in 2023 the product label was rescinded by the EPA due to concerns over cancer observed in rodent tests. Avipel is performing additional tests over the next 3 months to prove the hypothesis that the product does not cause cancer in humans. Once complete, an EPA review will follow. In the meantime, Michigan farmers cannot use the dry formulation of the product but can use the liquid form and apply it at planting, if planters are set up to allow for this. The dry formulation is still available in surrounding states such as Wisconsin, where the product is currently registered as a Section 24(c) exemption for a 2-year period. Once that registration period has ended, the product likely will not be available, pending an EPA review of new data.