Genuity™ SmartStax™ Trial Plots Demonstrate Effective Defense Against Corn Earworm

ST. LOUIS (October 6, 2009) – Test plots of Monsanto’s new all-in-one corn trait,

Genuity™ SmartStax™, are showing good success in protecting against a pest that, until

now, farmers have been largely defenseless to effectively control – corn earworm.

While corn earworm pressure has been light to moderate in much of the Midwest

this season, there have been some pockets of heavier pressure, most notably in the

western Corn Belt. In this geography, Genuity™ SmartStax™ has demonstrated superior

protection against this pest, which can reduce yields and grain quality by feeding on corn


Scheduled for introduction in 2010 on 3 million to 4 million acres, Genuity™

SmartStax™ will provide the industry’s broadest spectrum of above- and below-ground

insect control, including earworm protection, as well as two herbicide-tolerance traits for

improved weed control.

Trial plots across the Midwest this season involve comparisons of Genuity™

SmartStax™ to corn hybrids without in-plant earworm protection. Monsanto agronomist

Troy Roebke has observed severe earworm pressure in his trial plot near Haven, Kan.,

in the eastern part of the state.

“We have seen extensive damage to ears and kernels in unprotected corn

hybrids, including ears with up to 40 to 50 kernels missing.” said Roebke. “The corn ear

damage also permits entry of the pathogens that carry corn ear diseases, and we have

seen a high rate of disease in the damaged ears. In contrast, the Genuity™ SmartStax™

ears are full and clean. Based on visual observation, the insect-control is tremendous.”

Monsanto agronomist Roger Olson has seen similar results in the trial plot he is

managing in Camden Point, Mo. “When we checked for corn earworm feeding damage,

the difference in the technologies was dramatic, despite only moderate pressure,” said

Olson. “There was little to no insect-feeding damage on the corn kernels. I was able to


show the results of our trials to some area farmers, and they were amazed about the

insect control delivered by Genuity™ SmartStax™. They see the value in terms of putting

additional dollars in their pockets.”

Chism Craig, Monsanto Technology Development Representative, noted that

when corn is planted late, as was the case this year in parts of the Corn Belt, it is more

vulnerable to earworm migration from the South. “This just goes to show that earworm

can be a problem, especially with late planting,” said Craig, who observed Genuity™

SmartStax™ withstanding heavy pressure in a trial plot managed by Iowa State

University in Sutherland, Iowa, located in the northwest part of the state.

Corn Earworm Historically “Ignored”

Prior to this new technology, farmers have not had an effective defense against

corn earworm. “Historically, we have ignored corn earworm because there has been no

economic way to protect against it,” said Dr. Bob Wright, Research and Extension

Entomologist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. “It is an insect we have not

controlled at all due to the cost of using foliar insecticides and the difficulty in properly

timing applications. By the time farmers see injury on their corn ears, it was too late to


“Certainly in some years, there is fairly-defined corn earworm damage,” Wright

added. “The benefit of Genuity™ SmartStax™ is that it will provide broad-spectrum control

against a wide range of insects.”

Monsanto’s Olson also noted that scouting for corn earworm is extremely difficult.

“You have to peel the corn husk back. It’s a slow process and by the time you find

evidence of the pest, the damage is done,” he explained. “Until now, farmers have more

or less lived with the yield loss that corn earworm can cause.”

Farmers who plant Genuity™ SmartStax™ in 2010 will also benefit from a

significantly reduced refuge requirement. Multiple modes of insect control will support a

reduction in the typical Corn Belt farm refuge from 20 percent to 5 percent, enabling

growers to reduce their risk and increase their whole farm yield potential.