In order to preserve technology, insect resistant crops have always required a refuge area.
The National Corn Growers Association enhanced Compliance Assurance Program (CAP) that has had strong success. The program, which includes on-farm refuge assessments, an online survey and IRM education and awareness, has documented an increase in both the overall number of growers planting proper corn refuge and use of integrated refuge products.
The CAP aims to improve compliance with Insect Resistance Management requirements. The Agricultural Biotechnology Stewardship Technical Committee (ABSTC), a consortium of Bt corn registrants, submits an annual CAP report to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency describing industry-coordinated compliance assurance efforts for Bt traits.
Highlights of the survey indicate a strong adoption of integrated refuge products, which include Bt and refuge seed interspersed in a single bag or container.
“We are pleased to see that the number of growers planting integrated refuge products on their entire farming operation has more than tripled this year and the percent of those who planted at least one integrated product increased from 50% in 2012 to 75% in 2013,” said Mike Smith, ABSTC IRM subcommittee co-chairman.
ABSTC projects that the adoption of integrated products will continue to increase, contributing to the overall increase in compliance, which helps preserve Bt corn technology durability.
The survey shows that most growers are in compliance. In 2013, the majority of growers surveyed planted the required refuge size on their farms and planted it within the required distance for all of their Bt corn fields. Furthermore, the survey indicated that the percentage of growers not planting any refuge acres continues to be less than 10%.
The ABSTC continues to promote education programs and strategies to preserve the efficacy of Bt technology. In addition, the ABSTC continues to partner with NCGA to provide information on refuge ensures that NCGA’s membership and networks are fully informed of refuge requirements and the CAP. A collaboration supporting the use of best management practices for corn rootworm was initiated. The campaign includes advertisements and editorials in local publications on practices to utilize to help protect your fields from CRW.
“This type of collaboration is vital to the industry’s efforts to showcase the benefits of best management practices — including crop rotation and agronomic factors associated with corn-on-corn production,” said Jim Zimmerman , chairman of the National Corn Growers Association’s Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team. “ABSTC is committed to the success of the farmer, and through our educational programs, we are giving them options that will help manage challenging situations on their farms, as well as durability and stewardship of the industry’s trait technologies.”