Wildlife Damage Management, Internet Center for


Date of this Version

November 1976


The problem of pheasants (phasianus colchicus) pulling sprouting corn in the U.S. is not well understood, because objective surveys have not been conducted. However, a subjective survey by Stone and Mott (1973) indicated the problem is substantial. They estimated losses of corn in five states (IA, ID, IN, KS, and NE), where pheasants were reported as the only bird causing losses, at 7 million bushels ($17.5 million at $2.50/bu). Their survey data are reinforced by estimates that a cock pheasant is capable of consuming an amount of sprouting corn that would yield 15 bushels when mature (West 1968) and by estimates of spring pheasant populations as high as one pheasant per five acres in some areas of some states such as eastern and southeastern Iowa (Ronald George, pers. comm.). In 1967, West, et al. (1969) conclusively demonstrated that a latex slurry formulation of 0.5% methiocarb protected sprouting corn from pheasant damage in South Dakota---22 times as many sprouts were destroyed by pheasants on untreated fields as treated ones. German researchers, informed of these data, have used methiocarb to protect commercial fields of sprouting corn from pheasants since 1969. In Germany, such adhesives as skim milk and beer have been used to adhere methiocarb to the corn seed (Hermann and Kolbe 1971; Hermann, pers. comm.). Neither the latex slurry formulation nor the use of the adhesives used by the Germans have been acceptable to U.S. corn growers. With ease of treatment and planting in mind, the Chemagro Division of Mobay Chemical Company developed a graphite formulation containing 50% methiocarb (Mesurol 50% HBT) in 1973. In February 1976, this formulation was federally registered by the EPA (Registration No. 3125-309) for protecting sprouting corn from damage by blackbirds in all states east of the Mississippi River.