More farmers planted corn refuge and integrated refuge products in 2014 than in 2013, the National Corn Growers Association said Tuesday.
The measurements are gathered through the Compliance Assurance Program, which includes on-farm refuge assessments, an online survey, and IRM education and awareness. An annual CAP report is provided to the U.S. EPA 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," said Mark Kimm, ABSTC IRM subcommittee co-chair.
Kimm said also that the percent of those who planted exclusively integrated product increased from 18% in 2013 to 47% in 2014. An additional 27% are planting at least one integrated product, he said.
Survey shows that most growers are in compliance
In 2014, 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 low.
The Agricultural Biotechnology Stewardship Technical Committee, a consortium of Bt corn registrants, is continuing to promote strategies to preserve the efficacy of Bt technology.
The group partners with NCGA to ensure farmers are aware of refuge requirements and the CAP.
"This type of collaboration is vital to the industry's efforts to showcase the benefits of best management practices – such as crop rotation and trait selection," said John Linder, chairman of the National Corn Growers Association Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team.
Integrated refuge products and educational programs help growers manage on farm situations, as well as durability and stewardship of trait technology, Linder said.