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Plan targets rootworm hot spots

Monsanto has announced it is taking steps to ensure best management practices are implemented by farmers for fields that were planted with the company’s single-mode-of-action corn hybrids that contain western corn rootworm protection and were affected by significant corn rootworm pressure in 2011.

Farmers who continuously plant corn on corn with single-mode-of-action products have routinely faced pressure from high populations of rootworms for years, even prior to introduction of insect-protection trait technologies. 

Key Points

Monsanto asks growers to use proactive plan to address corn rootworm problem.

Some corn hybrids with rootworm trait experienced poor control during 2011.

Company works with growers to implement best management practices.

Today, there are pockets of heavy rootworm infestation in areas with a long history of corn on corn. In these areas, some farmers who use single-mode-of-action approaches (either a soil-applied insecticide or trait technology) have seen that high rootworm populations can overwhelm the plants, leading to damage and some surviving insects.

For 2012 Monsanto recommends farmers with fields that were planted with YieldGard VT Triple or Genuity VT Triple PRO hybrids and had greater-than-expected corn rootworm damage in 2011 follow these best management practices:

Switch to dual-mode-of-action Genuity SmartStax RIB Complete corn to manage and protect against insects on the affected field specifically. SmartStax corn is the only product on the market to offer dual modes of action for above- and belowground insect protection. 

Another option is to rotate to soybeans or another non-corn crop in 2012.

Beyond these field-specific recommendations, Monsanto is providing tailored local recommendations in combination with a soil- or foliar-applied insecticide for any fields planted to a single-mode-of-action technology in areas where high populations of rootworms were present in 2011, but where greater-than-expected rootworm damage was not experienced.

Monsanto will work with affected farmers to implement appropriate management practices for impacted fields and make recommendations for the entire farm. Also, third-party representatives will work with seed dealers to educate and reinforce the recommendation of best management practices for rootworm control.

“In addition to Genuity SmartStax RIB Complete, Monsanto’s YieldGard VT Triple and Genuity VT Triple PRO corn rootworm products are exceptional technologies that are delivering strong insect protection against corn rootworms and higher yield potential than competitive single-mode-of-action rootworm-protected trait offerings,” says Ty Vaughn, corn product lead at Monsanto.

“We’re committed to providing farmers with the best management practices to ensure we can both work to support the long-term durability of these products.”

Best management practices 

Since corn hybrids with western corn rootworm protection were introduced in 2003, Monsanto has provided recommendations to farmers to ensure long-term viability of single-mode-of-action technologies.

Monsanto continued to take reports on performance of its products seriously and remains committed to working with farmers who choose to plant continuous corn on corn, to ensure they understand the importance of Integrated Pest Management practices. Company officials say they’ve seen greater-than-expected damage on less than 0.14% out of the estimated 37 million acres planted to Monsanto corn rootworm technologies in 2011.

Iowa State University entomologist Aaron Gassman in 2011 published research findings after following up on persistent reports of high damage to Bt rootworm trait corn in northeast Iowa. The larvae were able to survive on Bt corn hybrids expressing the Cry3Bb1 toxin at levels similar to survival on non-Bt corn.

This article published in the December, 2011 edition of WALLACES FARMER.

All rights reserved. Copyright Farm Progress Cos. 2011.