A regulatory seed corn change approved by EPA in late November will make a huge difference in how farmers in the Northern Plains will handle their corn refuges, predicts Adam Spelhaug, agronomist with Peterson Farms Seed, Harwood, N.D.
EPA approved Refuge in a Bag for the Genuity VT Double PRO (VT2Pro) trait. The VT2Pro trait combines two modes of action for above ground insect protection –" the very insects that growers in our part of the world need insurance against," Spelhaug says.
The main pest in the northern states is European corn borer, but the trait also has excellent control of corn earworm and fall armyworm.
Refuge in a Bag approval allows the 5% refuge component to be blended directly into the seed bag or box.
"No more ordering separate seed products for your refuge! No more planting separate blocks for your refuge! That is the exciting opportunity –refuge made easy," he says.
Some of the Refuge in a Bag products currently on the market do have the below ground (corn rootworm) portion of the refuge blended into the seed. However, a separate refuge is required to protect against the above-ground pests.
"This can be a bit confusing so be sure to check with your seed dealer to make sure you understand exactly what trait you are planting and its corresponding refuge requirements," he advises.
Having the refuge in the seed bag makes the crop fully compliant to Insect Resistance Management guidelines, minimizing the chance for resistance to develop.
Select corn seed based on the genetics that fit your particular conditions, Spelhaug recommends, and then protect those genetics with the necessary traits.
"It is similar to buying a home. First choose the house the best fits your needs and then protect that house with insurance from fire and theft."