U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service





Date of this Version



2019 Society of Chemical Industry


Pest Manag Sci 2019; 75: 2910–2915 www.soci.org


BACKGROUND: Blackbird (Icteridae) damage to ripening sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) has been a persistent economic issue in the USA for the last five decades. To quantify losses, we surveyed blackbird damage from 2001 to 2013 (excluding 2004) to physiologically mature sunflower in eight states: North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Nebraska, Minnesota, Colorado, Kansas, and Vermont.

RESULTS:We pooled data gathered during the most recent 5 years (2009 to 2013) of the survey and found losses averaged $US2.5 million and $US11.3 million for confectionery and oilseed hybrids, respectively. Three states, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska, had sufficient acreage and bird damage to warrant economic analyses using a regional economic model. The average annual total (direct plus indirect) economic impact of bird damage to sunflower production for North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska was $US18.7million, $US7.3 million, and $US2.6million, respectively.

CONCLUSION: This study provides a better understanding of the broader economic implications of bird damage to sunflower by estimating the macroeconomic impacts of lost sunflower production in the region. Additionally, the findings of this study may be used to inform decisions regarding bird management policy by providing policymakers with information to determine the downstream value of bird management and the possible benefits of improved methods that further mitigate losses.