INDIANAPOLIS and ST. LOUIS (July 20, 2009) — U.S. and Canadian farmers are one step closer to realizing the greater whole farm corn yield advantages of a new corn seed trait combination that will provide the most comprehensive insect and weed control and allow farmers to significantly reduce their refuge. These benefits will be realized through SmartStax™, which is the outcome of a cross licensing agreement and research and development collaboration signed in 2007 between Monsanto Company (NYSE: MON) and Dow AgroSciences LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Company (NYSE: DOW).
SmartStax, the agriculture industry’s most advanced, all-in-one corn trait platform, received registration from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and regulatory authorization from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and remains on track for a 2010 commercial launch. SmartStax combines each company’s industry-leading corn traits to provide farmers the absolute broadest spectrum of above- and below-ground protection available against insects and weeds versus any product in the market today.
Using multiple modes of action for insect control is the state-of-the-art proven means to reduce structured refuge and maintain long-term durability of corn trait technologies. SmartStax uniquely features a combination of insect control traits that significantly reduces the risk of resistance for both above- and below-ground pests. As a result, the decisions by the EPA and CFIA will allow reduction of the typical structured farm refuge from 20 percent to 5 percent for SmartStax in the U.S. Corn Belt and Canada and from 50 percent to 20 percent of the U.S. Cotton Belt.
As part of today’s announcement, the companies noted that the new corn seed technology is expected to be offered to farmers on 3 million- to 4-million-plus acres in its first year of availability. The product’s launch would represent the largest introduction of a corn biotech seed product in the history of agriculture.
“Farmers are the real winners with SmartStax,” said Robb Fraley, Monsanto Chief Technology Officer and Executive Vice President. “The 5 percent refuge for SmartStax will give farmers a
tremendous advantage to increase whole farm corn yield 5 to 10 percent. This is a key early step in our commitment to helping farmers sustainably double yields by 2030 to meet the increasing demands for grain for food, feed and fuel. This reduced refuge will be easier for farmers and will further reduce insecticide use while reducing grower risks and enhancing the long-term durability of the technology.”
“The SmartStax technology developed by Dow AgroSciences and Monsanto will help U.S. and Canadian corn farmers take corn production to the next level,” said Jerome Peribere, Dow AgroSciences President and CEO. “By combining the industry’s leading seed traits, SmartStax protects against the broadest spectrum of insect pests with the most consistent level of control available. The multiple modes of action of SmartStax reduce the likelihood of insect resistance, making possible a significant reduction in the refuge requirement. Corn farmers who plant hybrids with SmartStax will benefit from increased productivity due to improved pest protection and a reduced refuge.” “One of the great benefits of biotechnology is that it has enabled my son and me to reduce the use of insecticides on our farm by 80 percent,” said Leon Corzine, a farmer who operates a fifth-generation corn and soybean farm with his son in Assumption, Ill. “SmartStax corn will allow us to reduce our insecticide use even further to 5 percent of our corn acres, while improving insect control and our environmental footprint will be lowered. Additionally, the lower refuge in the Corn Belt for SmartStax means I can better protect 15 percent more of my acres from potential yield loss.”