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Deer repellent supposed to reduce crop damage

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  • Pat Scala
    Deer repellent supposed to reduce crop damage Sunday, April 02, 2006 By Bob Gwizdz Farmers who have been losing a significant portion of their crops to deer
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 3, 2006
      Deer repellent supposed to reduce crop damage


      Sunday, April 02, 2006

      By Bob Gwizdz

      Farmers who have been losing a significant portion of their crops to deer
      damage now have an additional weapon in their arsenal: A Kalamazoo-based
      firm is marketing a deer repellent it says will reduce damage significantly.


      "It's no silver bullet," says Steve Middlemas, a product manager for Kalsec,
      Inc., a privately held firm that specializes in products for the
      food-processing industry. "I'm not saying it stops everything. But it
      reduces damage."

      Experiments on beans, carrots, sweet corn and other crops shows that
      Browseban will increase crop yields enough to more than pay for the cost of
      application, Middlemas said.

      The product, which has been in the works since the late 1990s, has been
      approved by the Environmental Protection Agency for use during the upcoming
      growing season. Middlemas says it could help reduce the need for farmers to
      shoot problem deer, which is a constant sore point between the sporting and
      agricultural communities.

      Browseban's main ingredient is found in hot peppers, Middlemas said, the
      same basic ingredient found in self-defense pepper sprays. The deer "have to
      taste it to realize they don't want it," he said. "After that, they can
      smell it."

      Browseban should be applied to crops every week to 10 days, Middlemas said,
      though it is vulnerable to rain in the interim. But it is perfectly safe for
      humans.

      "It's derived from a natural product," he said. "It does not move into the
      plant, it does not move into the fruiting body and it rinses off."

      Because it can be mixed with other products (such as pesticides or
      herbicides), Bowseban does not need a special application, Middlemas said.

      The product has been labeled for use on a variety of common Michigan
      vegetables. Middlemas said the company hopes to gain approval later this
      spring for its use on many other vegetables as well as for fruit trees.
      Eventually, Middlemas said, he thinks the product could effectively deter
      deer from browsing on flowers and ornamentals in suburban areas, but it has
      not been approved for those uses yet.

      "There's still some learning to be done," Middlemas said. "We're still in
      the testing phase on new crops and my feeling is that will go on for quite a
      while."

      For information, go to www.browseban.com.






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