About “Beyond the Rows”

Beyond the Rows is a Monsanto Company blog focused on one of the world’s most important industries, agriculture. Monsanto employees write about Monsanto’s business, the agriculture industry, and the farmer.
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Looking Ahead to the 2012 Corn Planting Season

As winter quickly passes, we recognize that many growers are gearing up for spring planting and may have questions about our recommendations for corn rootworm (CRW) traited hybrids due to recent discussions and headlines about corn rootworm populations.

Whether you are one of the few who experienced unexpected damage or one of the majority who experienced excellent performance on more than 99.8% of the acres planted with our corn rootworm traits in 2011, our recommendations for CRW control are the same.

  • We recommend you limit corn rootworm damage by using dual mode-of-action (pyramided) Bt-trait products, rotating your crop to soybeans or another non-host crop and/or using soil- or foliar-applied insecticides as needed to manage larvae and adults.
  • It’s also important to follow recommended Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices, including cultural control tactics, scouting and the appropriate use of pest thresholds and sampling. We have information on common IPM practices available on our website.
  • Growers should always follow an Insect Resistance Management (IRM) plan, which includes planting a refuge or using our RIB Complete products. To help reduce the risk of insects developing resistance, the refuge should always be planted with similar hybrids, close to, and at the same time as, the crop containing Bt technologies. Our agronomists and field sales reps are available to answer questions about refuge requirements, and a new online IRM calculator is available courtesy of National Corn Growers Association.

In addition to these recommendations, we’ll be working with those growers who saw unexpected damage in their fields last year to identify the best solution to managing corn rootworms on their individual fields. The 2011 inquiries were isolated to 437 fields in 11 states in the Corn Belt – totaling less than 0.2% of the acres planted with our rootworm-traited corn hybrids.

While we’ve already spoken with each of these growers, we are still looking at factors that may have contributed to each of the performance inquiries. Certainly, last year was a challenging growing season on many fronts, and we recognize that inquiries may or may not be related to susceptibility, or rootworm issues. We have worked to provide best management recommendations to growers for their fields. And, we’ll be following up with them before planting and again mid-season to help ensure CRW populations are well managed.

On one more front, we’re working to increase overall awareness through our Monsanto seed dealers, as well as the academic community. We hope all of these efforts will allow us to capture a deeper, more accurate look at what is occurring – as well as help you continue to see excellent results in your operation. Please don’t hesitate to contact a Monsanto agronomist or field sales rep if you have any questions about our products. Our goal is to work with each grower to deploy the best solutions for his or her farming operation and deliver the value from our traits that you have come to expect.

By Ty Vaughn
Corn Product Management Lead

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