Q. Is this resistance?
Our position is the same as EPA’s position: While the regulatory definition of confirmed resistance has not been triggered, corn rootworm resistance is suspected in a number of isolated fields across the Corn Belt.
The more important question is the one that farmers are asking: “Is this technology working for me in my fields?” And, for the vast majority (greater than 99 percent), the answer is yes. Indications are farmers continue to have great success with our products – even those few farmers who saw greater-than-expected damage from corn rootworm in 2012.
Q. Which BMPs are working best in the field?
In 2013, nearly three-quarters of the growers with a 2012 performance inquiry adopted a soybean rotation or a Genuity® SmartStax® RIB Complete™ corn hybrid. For the fields that rotated to soybeans, the agronomic benefits included not only effectively eliminating the high corn rootworm density, but also augmenting soil fertility and reducing residue build up, among others. In the fields where Genuity SmartStax RIB Complete corn hybrids were planted, we continued to see the technology demonstrating excellent control of corn rootworm.
Q. How did product performance claims compare in 2013 versus 2012?
Each year is unique. Currently we’ve received 524 performance inquiries in 2013, which is slightly up from 466 in 2012, but lower than 531 in 2011.
Q. How is Monsanto helping growers?
Our sales representatives, agronomists and dealers work with growers to understand the circumstances and the history of the field to provide agronomic solutions that maximize productivity.
In 2012, Monsanto hosted agAcademies and Learning Xperiences across the Corn Belt. These events addressed many of the challenges growers face today, and provided agronomic information on a number of topics, including high corn yield management, corn rootworm best management practices, fertilizer management, and disease, weed and insect management.
In addition, we have a number of technical reps in the field that are focused specifically on insect management and working with key academics. They provide information and training to our sales teams, agronomy staff, and our technical representatives to provide the best recommendations to our dealers and customers.
Q. How widespread was the soybean variant issue in Illinois that was publicized in 2013?
The western corn rootworm soybean variant was found in high numbers in a few counties in Illinois. The area in which the soybean variant has was found is consistent with where the soybean variant was first identified in the mid-1990’s. While the western corn rootworm variant populations have largely diminished over the past several years, thanks to such practices as planting rootworm-protected corn and higher levels of management within soybeans, this is still an important corn pest that needs to be managed in localized areas. The best management practices Monsanto recommends for farmers remain the most effective way to manage insect pests, including the corn rootworm soybean variant. In areas where the western corn rootworm variant is present, it’s a good practice to monitor and scout your soybean fields for potential beetle populations.