The EPA granted Monsanto registration for YieldGard Plus corn, completing the Agency’s comprehensive environmental safety assessment.
“Monsanto is pleased that the EPA has completed its review and registration of YieldGard Plus,” said Robb Fraley, chief technology officer of Monsanto. “This registration is great news for the tens of thousands of U.S. farmers who are seeing the benefits of biotech products.
“YieldGard Plus corn is expected to provide numerous benefits to corn growers including improved yields, higher on-farm returns and reduced need for insecticides historically used to control these damaging insect pests,” Fraley said.
YieldGard Plus corn provides growers with in-seed protection, allowing the corn plant to protect itself against the damaging Western and Northern corn rootworm larvae and the European corn borer. The corn rootworm and the European corn borer have earned the nickname the “billion-dollar bugs” as experts in the industry estimate that each pest costs U.S. corn growers approximately $1 billion annually.
YieldGard Plus corn joins Monsanto’s “YieldGard” family of insect-protected products for corn, which also includes YieldGard Corn Borer and YieldGard Rootworm corn. Following the necessary regulatory clearances on a state-level in the U.S. and receipt of the Japanese import approval, the YieldGard Plus technology will be made available for planting in corn hybrids through Monsanto’s branded seed businesses – DEKALB and Asgrow – as well as through licensed, independent seed companies.
All YieldGard Plus corn hybrids will be sold with a seed treatment to offer broad-spectrum control of secondary insect pests such as wireworm, white grub, early flea beetle, and seed corn maggot.
Insect-Resistance Management for YieldGard Plus
An important part of insect-protected corn product stewardship is practicing insect resistance management to delay the potential development of resistance by target pests. As a part of the registration, the EPA requires that growers planting the technology follow an Insect Resistance Management (IRM) program. The IRM plan for YieldGard Plus corn is similar to those already in use for other Bt products like YieldGard Corn Borer corn and YieldGard Rootworm corn. For YieldGard Plus corn, the EPA requires that growers plant a corn refuge with corn hybrids that do not contain Bt technologies for the control of corn rootworms or corn borers In most corn growing areas, the refuge area must represent at least 20% of the grower’s YieldGard Plus corn acres; in areas where cotton is also grown, the corn borer refuge must be at least 50%. Growers planting YieldGard Plus hybrids will have two different refuge planting options. One option allows them to plant a common refuge for both corn borers and corn rootworms. The second option allows them to plant separate refuge areas for corn borers and for corn rootworms.
Product Stewardship for YieldGard Plus
Once commercialized, YieldGard Plus hybrids will be marketed as part of the Market Choices program. This program identifies those technologies that are fully approved for food and feed use in the U.S. and Japan, however are currently lacking approval in the European Union. Growers that plant Market Choices hybrids must utilize appropriate markets for this grain including feedlots, feed mills, on-farm feeding, and grain handlers who agree to accept the grain. Growers should contact their local seed dealers or grain handlers for more stewardship details.
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