Syngenta Hopes To Release New Rootworm Trait In 2014

The Agrisure Duracade Trait expresses a unique Cry protein - eCry3.1Ab.

Published on: Nov 20, 2012

As farmers are beginning to realize, pests can develop resistance to just about anything.

Like a major-league pitcher, farmers must constantly change up pesticide programs to keep insects guessing. With their new Agrisure Duracade rootworm trait, Syngenta has just added another pitch to the farmer's repertoire.

Miloud Araba, Syngenta's technical traits product lead, explains that the Agrisure Duracade trait expresses a unique protein – eCry3.1Ab – for rootworm control. Agrisure Duracade's eCry3.1Ab has a different mode of action than anything previously developed. Araba says it is not a high-dose event, but it's as close as possible.

"Farmers should expect higher efficacy and control with Agrisure Duracade," he adds.

Syngenta Hopes To Release New Rootworm Trait In 2014
Syngenta Hopes To Release New Rootworm Trait In 2014

In a University of Missouri study, eCry3.1Ab reduced 99.79% of rootworm beetle emergence. Araba says this is the highest reduction of any Cry protein currently on the market.

2014 launch for Duracade
Syngenta's new eCry3.1Ab protein will be paired with their Agrisure RW trait – mCry3A – for dual action against rootworms. Of course, the rootworm traits will be paired with Syngenta's above-ground corn borer protection. Araba expects the products will launch for the 2014 growing season, pending regulatory approval.

The Syngenta team has been working with Agrisure Duracade for about eight years now. This means they started on the product well before resistant populations of rootworms became an issue in Iowa and northern parts of Illinois.

Araba says adding a mode of action will help stave off resistance. However, he reminds growers that high levels of rootworm pressure don't necessarily mean resistance is present. That said, he notes growers in high-pressure areas may still want to consider a soil insecticide to boost control.

Four rootworm cry proteins
With the introduction of eCry3.1Ab, growers now have a total of four Cry proteins to choose from. University of Illinois entomologist Mike Gray says it can get confusing since so many products utilize the various traits in different combinations. The four primary Bt rootworm traits are:

Cry3Bb1
Cry34/35Ab1
mCry3A
eCry3.1Ab

To keep them all straight, Gray suggests checking out the Handy Bt Trait Table, which is available at http://corn.agronomy.wisc.edu/Management/pdfs/Handy_Bt_Trait_Table.pdf. The table lists all Bt corn products by name brand along with the Bt proteins that provide their insect control. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin and Michigan State University developed the table.

As rootworm resistance begins to rear its ugly head, Gray says some of these pyramided Bt stacks will be key in keeping severe root injury in check.

"If you suspect you have resistance, or have been using the same trait for year after year, this would be a good time to rotate to another crop, consider switching to another Bt hybrid that expresses a different trait, think about using a non-Bt hybrid with a soil insecticide, or use a pyramided product to help reduce the amount of selection pressure you have in the field," Gray notes.