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Companies Chart New Course for Rootworm Control

02:23AM Jul 30, 2012

Mother Nature has a knack for getting around even the best pest control measures, and the Bt technology is no exception to the rule. Fortunately, scientists are developing new tools to help farmers stop corn rootworm in its tracks.

Agrisure Duracade is the next-generation corn rootworm trait under development by Syngenta. The trait expresses a new protein, eCry3.1Ab (Event 5307), that differs from existing products in the company’s lineup. Company officials say the trait will be used in conjunction with other existing Bt traits in stacked hybrids.

"Stacking dual modes of action for the control of destructive insects like corn rootworm will allow us to create reduced refuge offerings that will help growers maximize yields while also helping to prevent the development of resistant insects in their fields," says David Morgan, president of Syngenta Seeds, Inc.

Pending receipt of all necessary regulatory approvals, corn hybrids with Agrisure Duracade are expected to be available as early as 2014.

In addition, the company will have a full launch of its Agrisure 3122 E-Zp Refuge trait stack in 2013. It offers farmers two corn rootworm traits, mCry3A and Cry34/35Ab1, for a dual mode of action against pests, notes Miloud Araba, Syngenta technical product lead, commercial traits. The product is intended for use where farmers face insect pressure from both corn rootworm and corn borer. This refuge-in-a-bag style product will feature a 5% refuge.

Monsanto is working on a new mode of action for insect management, which will include rootworm
control, called RNA interference (RNAi). The technology is a plant-based process that cells use to reduce or silence the activity of specific genes that carry information within cells, explains Dusty Post, Monsanto global insects management systems lead.

Post says this new technology will be integrated into Monsanto’s insect control platform. Farmers located in the western corn rootworm hot spots who have already experienced Cry protein performance issues should welcome this news.

Post adds that, pending regulatory approval, hybrids containing the RNAi technology will be available before the end of the decade.