Crop Tech

December 5, 2015 02:42 AM
Crop Tech

New Trait in Monsanto’s SmartStax PRO Approved

Monsanto Company is moving forward with a new corn trait to protect crops against corn rootworms and provide glyphosate tolerance. The trait MON 87411, Corn Rootworm III, was recently deregulated by USDA and granted a section three breeding registration. The breeding registration marked the trait’s final approval necessary for U.S. production.


The rise of corn rootworm resistance has been documented in different parts of the U.S. This trait will add a third mode of action against corn rootworms to Monsanto’s lineup. The company intends to include the new trait in SmartStax PRO and decrease pressure on existing traits, which should help them stay viable longer.

Monsanto will now seek approval of the trait technology in other countries. The company hasn’t committed to a specific launch date since trait approval processes vary by country. However, Monsanto does anticipate launching the trait by the end of the decade.

Common Pesticides Tested for Bee Toxicity

Declining bee health has been linked to pesticide use, raising many concerns from farmers and researchers.

A recent study evaluating how 42 common agricultural pesticides impact bee health hopes to provide one more piece to the puzzle.

“We have to try to get a sense of risk and how to put it in perspective,” says John Adamczyk, USDA–Agricultural Research Service research leader. “What excites me about the research is it really helps get a more accurate feeling about what may be harmful to bees.”


Bee loss stings more than just beekeepers—agriculture depends heavily on pollination. There are several reasons for bee loss, such as winter kill, pesticide exposure, varroa mites and colony collapse disorder. While pesticide exposure is not the biggest cause of death, it is controllable. “We’re going to help farmers understand what to be careful with,” he adds.

Adamczyk and his team worked together to create more realistic studies to show how each of the pesticides affect bees. Using a spray tower, the team mimicked real field spraying to show how each chemical could affect bee health, assuming the colony is directly in the path of the spray.

They tested 42 insecticides, fungicides and herbicides, including glyphosate (Roundup) and sulfoxaflor (Dow).

Each chemical was tested alone in this study to set a baseline for how bees react. In future studies, the 
researchers will also test common tank mixes to see if this changes how bees react to spray applications. That information will then be relayed to farmers and applicators. 

“We’re trying to minimize the risk involved in spraying,” he says. 

Some of the findings might surprise you. Glyphosate was one of the least toxic chemicals tested. It killed less than 1% of the bees sprayed. 

Dow’s insecticide sulfoxaflor acts like a neurotoxin, attacking the central nervous system of insects, but was not among the most toxic chemicals for bees. This was surprising because the Environmental Protection Agency recently issued a cancellation order for products containing sulfoxaflor while other chemicals  more toxic to bees remain legal.  

“Anytime you can minimize a bee kill we’ve done our job,” Adamczyk says.

BASF Herbicide Gains Registration for 2016

Seed and chemical companies race to enter their solutions in the fight against weed resistance with new technologies. To combat troublesome weeds, BASF Crop Protection offers a newly regulated option for all corn types. Armezon PRO is a premix group 15 and group 27 herbicide available for the 2016 crop season.

Armezon PRO can be applied to corn from emergence to eight-leaf stage, about 30" tall. With rain activation, it is said to provide residual control. For additional information visit

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