Predator Control Restrictions

EPA Puts New Limits on Use of Some Products

A 2015 National Agricultural Statistics Survey reported coyotes accounted for 40.5% of cattle death losses to predation. (Photo by Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The EPA agreed to re-register M-44 devices for control of predators. The announcement comes with restrictions regarding distances and buffers for placement of the sodium cyanide ejectors.

M-44s are spring-loaded devices aimed at control of predators, often coyotes and wild dogs, preying on livestock or poultry. Livestock losses to predators are estimated at more than $232 million each year. Lambing and calving seasons are especially vulnerable times.

These M-44 devices are only used by trained and certified applicators. Often placed along fences and in seldom-used areas, signs mark the placement of every M-44. EPA's new restrictions for the use of M-44s focus on buffers and distances from public paths or roads. In addition, signage requirements have been adjusted.

Sodium cyanide products were first registered in 1947, and today only the USDA, South Dakota, Texas, Montana, Wyoming and New Mexico hold registrations for use of the M-44s.

EPA reports its new restrictions call for: (1) a 600-foot buffer around residences where M-44s cannot be used; (2) a 300-foot distance from public paths and roads; and (3) two, elevated warning signs facing the two most likely directions of approach, within 15 feet of the devices.

National Cattlemen's Beef Association's Ethan Lane, said the decision to retain the use of M-44s was an important one for producers. He is vice president of government affairs for the group.

"NCBA, and many of our affiliates such as the Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association, appreciate EPA's decision to retain the use of this important tool," he said. "Livestock producers have to contend with predation of livestock on a daily basis and having access to every tool in the toolbox allows our ranchers to continue to protect the herd."