Corn Stacks

September 1, 2009 02:31 PM

Len Corzine's father would have had an entirely different definition of a corn stack than the one the Assumption, Ill., farmer has. It's a safe bet he'd hardly believe what's coming down the farm lane today.

The long-awaited SmartStax, a trait platform that combines above- and belowground insect protection and two leading weed control systems, is ready for the field. It recently received registration from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and regulatory authorization from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), and it has received export clearances in Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

The result of a cross-licensing agreement and research and development collaboration between Monsanto Company and Dow AgroSciences LLC, the all-in-one trait package is expected to be offered to farmers on
3 million to 4 million acres in 2010. That's the largest product launch recorded for a corn biotech seed product.

Jerome Peribere, DowAgroSciences president and CEO, notes that combin-ing leading seed traits not only protects against a broad spectrum of pests, but the inclusion of multiple modes of action also reduces the likelihood of insect resistance. An additional plus for farmers is that EPA and CFIA have agreed to allow a refuge reduction from 20% to 5% for SmartStax in the U.S. Corn Belt and Canada and from 50% to 20% in the southern U.S. Cotton Belt region.

Corzine says he and his son, Craig, have already benefited from biotechnology traits. "We've reduced the use of insecticides on our farm by 80%,” he says. "This new stack of traits will allow us to reduce insecticide use even further—while improving insect control and lowering our environmental footprint. The lower refuge means I can better protect more of my acres from potential yield loss.”

Monsanto's chief technology officer and executive vice president, Robb Fraley, says the SmartStax technology is a key early step in Monsanto's commitment to helping farmers sustainably double yields by 2030.


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