Having been raised on a farm in Western Nebraska, I know first hand how hectic it can be during planting season. To maximize profits, farmers want to get the corn planted as quickly as possible. Not having to calculate refuge, clean out planters or fill the planter with two different products can really save time and reduce stress.
After years of research and work, Monsanto is finally able to offer growers in the Corn Belt the first single bag refuge solution, and I’m excited about the convenience that Genuity® SmartStax® RIB Complete™ will bring to growers. (“RIB” is short-hand for “refuge in a bag.”)
And by using RIB Complete products, growers can have complete confidence that their fields are in compliance with refuge management requirements. They won’t have to be concerned with Integrated Refuge Management (IRM) compliance audits and they can enjoy the peace of mind that comes from doing their part to ensure trait durability for the future.
Monsanto has been researching refuge in the bag products for the past 14 years, and I’ve been leading the launch team for the past 4. The approval of Genuity SmartStax with a 5% refuge requirement – the lowest in the Corn Belt – set the stage for us to make our submission to the EPA for Genuity SmartStax RIB Complete. This product combines the most complete insect control with the convenience and simplicity of refuge in the bag. Genuity SmartStax RIB Complete will provide growers with the best option to control both above and below ground insects, keep their fields clear of weeds and return highest possible yields.
The path to market hasn’t been easy. Unlike developing a new biotech trait, which Monsanto has done many times since 1996 across all major row crops, this is a manufacturing feat. Our engineers have worked very hard to redesign our packaging plants to blend the refuge and traited components in an extremely accurate process. We installed a prototype plant, did many experiments, took it apart, made changes and finally came up with the design we wanted to implement.
Once we had the plant designed and tested, we had to work through how to correctly label the products and how to select which two lots of seed to blend together to make the very best product for the farmer. Since our traits are also sold through independent seed companies, we have partnered with them to share the things we learned and help them to get their brands ready to convert to RIB Complete in time for the full commercial launch in the fall of 2011. Pending approval by the U.S. EPA, we plan to launch Genuity® VT Double PRO™ RIB Complete for 2012 planting as well using the same manufacturing process.
I’m really anxious to talk to growers who have the opportunity to participate in our commercial introduction this spring, to hear directly from the customer how a single bag refuge solution product adds value on their farm. In the end, that’s what makes it all worthwhile – having a customer who benefits from your work.