Multi-year Data Reveals HERCULEX® XTRA Hybrids Healthier, Yield Better

Data compiled from years of university and Dow AgroSciences research trials reveal hybrids with HERCULEX® XTRA Insect Protection have better overall plant health, are better able to fight off environmental stress and produce higher yields compared with non-Bt hybrids.

“By reducing plant stresses caused by the most damaging above- and below-ground corn pests, HERCULEX XTRA provides whole plant protection,” says Ed King, technology transfer leader for Dow AgroSciences. “A hybrid without insect damage can better withstand other environmental pressures and realize its full genetic potential.”

Protecting roots and stalks from insect feeding helps plants utilize water more efficiently to maintain vigor during drought-stress conditions. In field trials conducted in Illinois (2005) and Indiana (2007), HERCULEX XTRA corn showed less drought stress than non-Bt corn under dry conditions and heavy rootworm pressure.

“The heavy rootworm pressure reduces the roots’ ability to take up water and maintain normal plant function,” King says. “HERCULEX XTRA protects the roots from damage to keep the plant performing as normally as possible.”

Maintaining a strong root system and a healthy vascular system also helps the plant to access and utilize soil nutrients, including nitrogen (N). Studies in 2007 comparing hybrids from the same genetic family have shown that hybrids with HERCULEX® XTRA Insect Protection provided 7 percent to 13 percent greater N uptake efficiency than a non-Bt hybrid treated with soil insecticide, and 21 percent to 37 percent greater N uptake efficiency than a non-Bt hybrid without soil insecticide.

“While the presence of a Bt gene in a hybrid does not increase yield, it can prevent yield loss due to insect damage,” King says.

Data averaged from 33 hybrids at 26 university trials in seven states showed that under corn rootworm pressure, hybrids with HERCULEX XTRA traits yielded better than hybrids without rootworm protection. Under high rootworm pressure, HERCULEX® XTRA Insect Protection yielded 37 bu./A higher than corn without rootworm Bt.