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Crop Tech

December 11, 2009

Stacked and Ready

Scott Schmidt has 30 bags of SmartStax corn booked for 2010, and he can hardly wait to see how it will perform.

"It comes at a price premium, so I'll be putting the pencil to it,” says Schmidt, who farms near Grinnell, Iowa. "I'll be putting it to the test on corn-on-corn ground, where insect and disease pressure is typically higher.”

SmartStax is the latest in trait technology, combining multiple modes of action against above- and belowground pests. That means multiple Bt proteins are expressed throughout the entire plant, providing whole-plant protection. As an insect ingests the multiple modes of action, the proteins attack two areas of its midgut. This reduces concerns about insect resistance and allows for reduced refuge requirements.

Schmidt says he's impressed by in-field trials that show ear-feeding pests, such as corn earworm, to be more reliably controlled. Reduction in insect feeding is a start toward reducing ear rots and molds, he notes. "I'm also excited about the 5% refuge

associated with use of this technology,” he adds. Some Southern cotton states have higher refuge percentage requirements.

Monsanto Company's DeKalb-brand Genuity SmartStax will debut next year in eight hybrids in the 103-day to 113-day maturity ranges. Codeveloper Dow AgroSciences is releasing 14 new elite Mycogen SmartStax hybrids, including 12 grain corn hybrids and two silage-specific corn hybrids made available in maturity zones 2 through 8.

"Our SmartStax seed production is on schedule, and we are looking forward to offering hybrids across a wide range of maturities for planting next season,” says Brent Stauffacher, Mycogen Seeds' SmartStax product manager.

"Our agronomy team is already working with growers to maximize the benefit of reduced refuge, with a number of new tools available to help growers learn how to make the most of the new Mycogen SmartStax hybrids,” Stauffacher adds.

Some local and regional seed companies also have technology agreements that allow development of SmartStax hybrids.

Monsanto recently announced that its seed production exceeded expectations and that it will launch Genuity SmartStax on more than 4 million acres. Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences are planning to submit a regulatory package for a refuge-in-a-bag concept for SmartStax by the end of the year.

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FEATURED IN: Farm Journal - December 2009

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