Monsanto’s New Plant Protection Technology Clears USDA Approval

Monsanto announced today a new plant protection technology - MON 89034 - has cleared regulatory approval from the USDA. This technology is the first to enable corn plants to produce two naturally-occurring proteins to better protect the corn plants from yield-robbing above ground pests. Using biotechnology, the plants produce proteins from Bacillus thuringiensis or Bt for short. Bt technologies have been in use in production agriculture for some time, however, this is the first corn technology to produce two independent proteins lethal to target insects. When this technology is in use, the EPA has approved the reduction of structured refuge, or plots of corn that do not use Bt technology near corn acres using in-plant protection. The current required percentage of refuge acres varies based on specific geography, but in general is set at 50% in the southern United States and 20% in the Corn Belt. Beginning in 2009, southern growers can take advantage of this reduced refuge opportunity by planting corn with this technology offering an opportunity to increase yields and profitability. The technology will appear in YieldGard VT Triple PRO available in 2009 and SmartStax available in 2010.