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A Picture of a Reduced Refuge Concept is Worth…

A few weeks back, I wrote a post attempting to explain simply in words the difference between current and future corn products offering a reduced refuge. (“Refuge in the Bag: Will that be one bag or two?”)

I reviewed Monsanto’s current Genuity® VT Triple PROTM and Genuity® SmartStax TM products versus Pioneer’s Optimum® AcreMaxTM 1 and Monsanto’s in-development RIB Complete concept (not yet available).

Sometimes a picture is better than words. This technical piece provides an effective visual of the four products below.

Much better. Thanks team.

UPDATE: I received a comment (see below) that a caption is needed to help explain this concept. Here is an updated note.

The white beans in all the jars represent traited, insect-protected seed. The black beans are the refuge seed. In the first two jars on the left, they are pictured separated because refuge is planted separately in those systems. Farmers have to plant two types of seed products – or two bags – one with traited seed, and one with refuge seed. The numbers on the jar represent the ratio. For example, with VT Triple Pro seed, farmers can plant 80% of their acres to the traited seed, and must plant a separate 20% of their acres to non-insect protected seed.

In the two jars on the right, the black seeds are blended with the white seeds, representing the new “refuge in the bag” concepts. The last jar on the right shows Monsanto’s future RIB complete concept (not yet available) whereby a farmer purchases one seed bag product and the refuge is blended inside in a 95:5 percentage mix.

The jar right of center (labeled Optimum AcreMax 1) has white, black and red beans. The white and black beans also represent a blend – for the corn rootworm trait. Pioneer has said that Optimum AcreMax 1 simplifies refuge. However, the product seems to only simplify for corn rootworm refuge. Optimum AcreMax 1 still requires that a separate 20% refuge be planted for corn borer refuge. That is represented with the red beans and literally represents a second seed product or second bag.



5 Responses to "A Picture of a Reduced Refuge Concept is Worth…"

  1. Dear Mica,

    I understand this is a shame to me, but. I am a very recent contractor at Monsanto, an urban kid, and a PhD chemist by education. Never been much around seeds and planting professionally so far. I agree the picture looks nice and may speak words to those in the game. But I would really appreciate a sensible caption to the puzzle, such as explaining what exactly do the white, black, and red beans represent, as well as why it is important that they are beans and not corn (which I guess they are meant to represent). Thanks,

    *puzzled*

    Reply
    • Viktar – My apologies for not labeling with a caption, which I should have done. Actually, perhaps it should have been captioned on the original bulletin.

      I’m not sure why corn seed wasn’t used, but I’ll ask.

      The white beans in all the jars represent traited, insect-protected seed. The black beans are the refuge seed. In the first two jars on the left, they are pictured separated because refuge is planted separately in those systems. Farmers have to plant two types of seed products – or two bags – one with traited seed, and one with refuge seed. The numbers on the jar represent the ratio. For example, with VT Triple Pro seed, farmers can plant 80% of their acres to the traited seed, and must plant a separate 20% of their acres to non-insect protected seed.

      In the two jars on the right, the black seeds are blended with the white seeds, representing the new “refuge in the bag” concepts. The last jar on the right shows Monsanto’s future RIB complete concept (not yet available) whereby a farmer purchases one seed bag product and the refuge is blended inside in a 95:5 percentage mix.

      The jar right of center (labeled Optimum AcreMax 1) has white, black and red beans. The white and black beans also represent a refuge blend – for the corn rootworm trait. Pioneer has said that Optimum AcreMax 1 simplifies refuge. However, the product seems to only simplify for corn rootworm refuge. Optimum AcreMax 1 still requires that a separate 20% refuge be planted for corn borer refuge. That is represented with the red beans and literally represents a second seed product or second bag.

      I will add this description to my post. Thanks for your comment. I’m sure others wondered the same thing.

      Reply
  2. Dear Mica,
    I enjoyed viewing your study and your efforts in simplifying this piece. I would offer that the Optimum AcreMax 1 does, indeed, simplify corn rootworm refuge. However, I think your depiction of the corn borer refuge is incorrect in picture and in words.
    Consider this: Corn borer refuge is actually more simplified with Optimum AcreMax 1, because putting the corn rootworm refuge inside the bag allows you to plant corn borer refuge up to 1/2 mile away. Previously, you would have been required to plant refuge within the same field because corn rootworm refuge requirements call for this. Therefore, there is more simplicity and flexibility because that corn borer refuge can now be placed up to 1/2 mile away from the Optimum AcreMax product.
    In picture, I believe your photo of Optimum acre max should show the “red” corn borer refuge in a separate jar, since that refuge can be planted separately (up to 1/2 mile) away from the original jar with corn rootworm refuge integrated.
    Moreover, I would offer that the photo on the right has not been approved to market yet, therefore this concept, although it seems more similar, is not something available to the public yet. In fact, no Monsanto companies have been approved yet for refuge in the bag; correct? If you would insist on usin the picture on the right to depict Monsanto’s RIB concept, it would only be fair that you also show a picture of Pioneer’s Optimum AcreMax 2 product, which will offer not only corn borer refuge in the bag, but also rootworm.
    Just some food for thought. Thanks for duly entertaining these ideas.
    signed,
    Bringing Concepts Forward

    Reply
    • BCF – Thanks for the clarification of the Optimum AcreMax system. In my original blog post on this topic, I did note that the OAM 2 system concept would be a “one-bag” product: http://www.monsantoblog.com/2010/07/14/smartstax-vs-acremax/
      However–as you point out–it would have been more fair to note it in this post as well.

      I will say–based on conversations I’ve seen online between farmers–that Optimum AcreMax 1 has a lot of confusion around it and what it actually means for refuge. The position of my original post was that a true refuge-in-the-bag solution should simplify the refuge concept, not make it more complex. Perhaps in practical implementation, but in theory it has a lot of people scratching their heads.

      Reply
      • I agree with the previous statement, from what I have seen and been told it would be ONE bag with Acre Max using the 1/2 away refuge. Example say you had two 1/4’s (240ac) and a 50 acre field (20% refuge = 48ac) 1/2 mile away or less. You could just dump in any number of Acre Max 1 and go without cleaning out or messing with blocks etc. Then you just plant that 50 acre field to Acre Max RW. This would give you complete rootworm control across your whole farm without having to add insecticide etc. If you wanted to you could just plant a cheap single stack number for refuge if you weren’t concerned about rootworm on that field. I think this will be HUGE for the growers with central fill planters or for those who have bad rootworm pressure. The mix in the bag also provides great protection due to lateral root feeding from the nearby triple stacked plants. Most growers have at least one or more fields within 1/2 or less so I think it wouldn’t be confusing or a hassle.

        As a grower I would MUCH rather do this then have to plant a block in every field as you would with Smartstax, even at 5% I would still have to clean out and mess with blocks in each field. You guys are making it sound way too complicated, it sounds pretty simple to me.

        Reply

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