Expected patterns of Bt use, implementation
Today's producers have much greater flexibility with respect to the type of refuge they wish to implement. We asked producers at the 2012 Classics what type of refuge they intended to use this growing season. The 20 percent structured refuge was most common (53 percent; Figure 3), but the seed blend (refuge-in-a-bag) strategy is gaining popularity as more pyramided Bt hybrids enter the marketplace. About 22 percent of producers indicated they would use a 5 percent seed blend this season, and slightly more than 14 percent intend to use a 10 percent seed blend. Combined, nearly 37 percent of producers who took part in the 2012 Classics will use a seed blend as their refuge and hedge against insect resistance development.
click image to zoomFigure 3. Answers provided at the 2012 Corn and Soybean Classics meetings to the question "Which of the following describes your refuge approach for 2012?" This is a very significant shift away from the structured refuge, and the trend will likely intensify as more pyramided hybrids become available. From a convenience angle, it's easy to see why this approach will increase in popularity. Of potential concern is the anticipated reduction in the volume of non-Bt seed produced by the seed industry, since refuge requirements are dropping from 20 percent levels. Will this make it more difficult for producers to purchase elite germplasm from non-Bt product lines? Producer access to non-Bt hybrids is important if the industry overall values a more integrated approach to pest management across the Corn Belt.