Monsanto is providing these remarks in light of a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from members of the North-Central Coordinating Committee (NCCC46) and other corn entomologists, which captures these academics’ perspectives on Bt traits and corn rootworm management.
Monsanto shares a common vision with the academic community: we all want to ensure that Bt traits remain a viable tool for farmers. We continue to collaborate with entomologists and agronomists from across the Corn Belt to better understand how to minimize the potential for insects to develop resistance to Bt technologies. While the vast majority of farmers experienced excellent performance on more than 99.8 percent of the acres planted with Monsanto corn rootworm traits in 2011, we are working closely with farmers, academics and the EPA to evaluate reports of greater-than-expected damage in certain fields.
Rootworm performance inquiries in 2011 were isolated to 437 fields in 11 states in the Corn Belt – totaling less than 0.2% of the acres planted with Monsanto rootworm-traited corn hybrids. In all of these cases, Monsanto is working closely with the farmer and has provided best management practices (BMPs) for the 2012 season on each of these fields.
All farmers planting Bt corn must follow an insect resistance management (IRM) plan. For an IRM plan to be successful, it must be practical, flexible and cost-effective. Farmers have many choices each year, and Monsanto offers a broad portfolio of products to help meet farmers’ individual needs. We also recognize that farmers have access to a wide variety of seed, trait and crop protection choices across the industry to address pest pressure.
Monsanto is committed to the success of farmers, the durability and stewardship of our trait technologies and helping farmers manage challenging situations on farm. We will continue to work to preserve Bt technology and to provide practical, flexible and cost-effective IRM recommendations to growers.