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Published August 03, 2010, 09:19 AM

Flock Buster is for flowers, rice, cotton, corn, too

FARGO, N.D. — While Flock Buster is offered as a product to keep blackbirds out of sunflowers, the company says it has other benefits — either proven or potential:

By: Mikkel Pates, Agweek

FARGO, N.D. — While Flock Buster is offered as a product to keep blackbirds out of sunflowers, the company says it has other benefits — either proven or potential:

- Rice and other crops in the South: Kenville says a close friend from his pilot training days who is a farmer near Marianna, Ark., has 6,000 acres of crops, including rice. The friend has introduced him to researchers at the University of Arkansas

Paul Counce, an environmental scientist at the University of Arkansas in Stutgart, Ark., is testing the product on white rice. Claude Kennedy, University of Arkansas director for the cotton research station at Marianna, is looking at applications in rice, cotton, sorghum and corn to protect seedlings. Kenville says the researchers have been testing it in various ways — soaking seed in it for 12 hours, for 24 hours, for 48 hours or ground spraying in various combinations.

- Vegetable crops: Jolly Green Giant, a brand of Seneca Foods, is using the product on sweet corn acreage in the Fon du Lac, Wis.-area. On Labor Day weekend, Kenville flew to Fon du Lac to sell 25 gallons to a Seneca employee. This is the second year the company has used it and has quadrupled its order.

- Barn, shed pests: Farmers who have birds in their barns, covering their stored grain or $200,000 combines with droppings, could spray it in the rafters “We’ve gotten up to 90 days in some of these aircraft hangars, as long as it’s protected from the weather,” Kenville says.

- Birds and airports: The product has been used at Devils Lake, N.D., under supervision of the Federal Aviation Administration. In 2009, the product was applied after the geese and seagulls already had nested. In 2010, the product was applied before nesting, and only three pairs established nests. “They had 1,000 pairs there last year,” Kenville says.

The company is developing “Flock Buster Plus,” which is specifically formulated for seagulls. “They’re tough, they’re like flying rats,” Kenville says, of seagulls. “This is a problem where you have an airport within a half-mile of a flight path. You’ve got to keep those birds out to avoid one of those ‘Miracle on the Hudson’ deals,” referring to the successful landing of a goose-struck jet liner on the Hudson River.

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