LSU Ag Center gets long awaited patent on hog bait product
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - When it comes to damaging farmlands, there are few species that do the job better than wild hogs.
They tear up the ground, eat up fertilized crops, and also harm cattle at a time when farmers are already dealing with unprecedented climate conditions which are putting a dent in the harvest season. One sow is capable of having up to 400 babies in just 3 years. According to the Department of Agriculture and Forestry, Louisiana has more wild hogs and it does people in all three major cities combined.
“They’re reproductive machines and it’s really logarithmic, it’s an exponential increase in the number of pigs so that’s part of the issue we’re having with them,” said Professor Glen Gentry with the LSU Ag Center.
Gentry and others have developed little golf-ball-sized gummies to fight back. The patented poison attracts these creatures and the sodium nitrite inside them causes the hogs to fall asleep after they’ve been consumed, only to never wake up.
“Because it is readily affected by the environment, it converts to basically a non-toxic compound relatively quickly which is good for the environment and good for non-targets but makes it difficult to develop a bait that will actually work and not lose its toxicity till we can get it to the pigs,” Gentry added.
The Department of Agriculture and Forestry says we would need to kill off 90% of the hogs in Louisiana annually, not just to reduce the population, but to keep it steady.
“On most years we’re able to eliminate between 350-400 thousand and were still not getting ahead. We have to bring that number up to 700,000 to make a difference,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Mike Strain.
Those at the Ag Center behind this product are still waiting for an experimental use permit from the EPA in order to conduct field trials.
They’re currently looking for the best way to disperse the bait in fields.
With everything from the permit to the field trials, to the EPA’s review of those results, farmers are still a few years from being able to purchase these. Once everything is done it will be up to the Department of Agriculture to decide who will be able to purchase these products.
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