As planting progresses, the National Corn Growers Association calls on all parties involved in proper stewardship of biotechnology traits, from seed dealers to farmers, to renew their commitment to responsible use of these indispensable products.
NCGA offers an Insect Resistance Management refuge calculator that easily clarifies refuge options, thus helping in the development of an appropriate management plan.
"It is vitally important that every actor involved with advanced seed traits acts as a good steward at all times," said NCGA Chairman Bart Schott. "Biotechnology acceptance hinges upon trust in the companies developing traits, the individuals distributing them and the farmers growing them. We cannot afford to jeopardize the long-term availability of essential products for short-term, personal economic gain."
In recent years, the introduction of new refuge systems has given growers more options in setting up their refuge. NCGA's calculator was developed as a tool to clarify those options and demonstrate how to execute refuge requirements properly. Now in its third generation, the tool provides the most up-to-date information through a web-based framework while offering the added convenience of smartphone and desktop application accessibility.
"NCGA's Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team came together with industry partners to develop this tool. Proper stewardship of biotechnology traits goes hand in hand with our historic commitment to environmental stewardship," said Schott. "Growers, and the rest of the value chain, must adhere to EPA refuge requirements in order to protect not only the viability of the biotech industry, but also the future of farming."
The IRM refuge calculator includes all commercial Bt products on the market and features a trait selection process that allows farmers to run several planting scenarios on a field-by-field basis. Its updated interface and clearer planting options simplify refuge calculations. Industry experts from the Agricultural Biotechnology Stewardship Technical Committee, which includes representatives from Dow AgroSciences LLC, Monsanto Company, Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc. and Syngenta Seeds Inc., were consulted in developing the new and improved calculator.
The refuge calculator is a tool that should be used in conjunction with the applicable seed manufacturer's Stewardship Guide, which explains acceptable refuge configurations in more detail. For additional information on planting specific corn hybrids, please consult with the appropriate manufacturer's representative.
"All parties should constantly remember that technology access is a privilege, not a right, and with it comes responsibilities," said Schott. "As stakeholders offer tools and issue reminders about the importance of good stewardship, we must be cognizant of the fact that those caught violating refuge requirements can lose access to these valuable biotechnology products."
To access or download NCGA's IRM refuge calculator, please visit click here.