SOURCE: AXcess News

September 10, 2007 12:52 ET

AXcess News: Record Crop and Landscape Damage Expected Thanks to Growing Deer Population

HOUSTON, TX--(Marketwire - September 10, 2007) - Last week Itronics, Inc. (OTCBB: ITRO) filed with the EPA for an active ingredient used in its deer repellent. If approved, the enviro-ag company would be the only maker registered for its use, and for farmers and homeowners alike, it can't come soon enough.

Drought conditions have forced many deer herds to look outside wooded areas for food, foraging instead on crops and ornamental plants. Last year alone, foraging deer caused an estimated $250 million in damage in the Northeast and this year, experts say, the damage is likely to rise alongside the increase in deer populations.

Deer damage is so severe in New Jersey that 25 percent of farmers surveyed by Rutgers in 1998 reported abandoning tillable fields because of it and 36 percent said they had to give up preferred crops due to foraging deer. But the damage expectations aren't limited to the Northeast.

In Michigan, a Department of Natural Resources representative said the State's deer population rose 100,000 over 2006 estimates. Rod Clute, the DNR's whitetail specialist told the Detroit Free Press on Sunday that "Numbers are up a little this year statewide. Last year, we estimated the herd at 1.6 to 1.7 million, and this year it's about 1.7 to 1.8 million."

Clute's story is the same in many states but in the Northeast, Itronics is hoping to be approved by the EPA to begin selling its GOLD'n GRO Guardian this spring. "Our deer repellent fertilizer is a key new product for Itronics," said Dr. John Whitney, Itronics founder and President.

An Itronics subsidiary filed a technical product registration application with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the active repelling ingredient, denatonium benzoate. Once approved, Itronics will be the only company in the U.S. with a green light from the EPA to use it in its deer repellent.

GOLD'n GRO Guardian is a systemic treatment for plants, which means it is taken up through the root system, both fertilizing and repelling deer that would otherwise eat the buds or bark of plants. Itronics says that field tests have shown it won't wash off so its repelling effect if applied in the fall would carry over through the winter months when deer forage becomes scarcer.

Whitney's company says the market for GOLD'n GRO Guardian could be as much as $50 million. But total crop damage nationwide from foraging deer is estimated to exceed $2 billion, based on a 2005 University survey. But with draught conditions continuing and deer populations rising perhaps 5 percent nationwide, damage estimates in 2007 could be much higher, increasing the demand for something that doesn't require repeated application month after month. Itronics also has another edge in that market if the EPA grants the company's application -- it will be the only deer repellent maker in the U.S. approved to use the repelling ingredient.

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