The National Corn Growers Association announced Monday that the enhanced Compliance Assurance Program has documented an increase in both the overall number of growers planting proper corn refuge and use of integrated refuge products.
The program includes a combination of on-farm refuge assessments, an online survey and Insect Resistance Management education and awareness.
Integrated refuge products show strong adoption
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 is the Agricultural Biotechnology Stewardship Technical Committee, a consortium of Bt corn registrants that submits an annual CAP report to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency describing industry-coordinated compliance assurance efforts for Bt traits.
Related: Rootworm: Refuge Habits Are Changing
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.
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%.
Together the ABSTC and NCGA have been working on improving refuge compliance. Part of that effort is a collaboration supporting the use of best management practices for corn rootworm. The campaign includes advertisements and editorials in local publications on practices to utilize to help protect 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."