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EPA approves Pioneer's 'Refuge-in-the-Bag' seed

Agriculture.com Staff 05/03/2010 @ 8:27am

DuPont announced Monday the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has granted commercial registration of Optimum AcreMax 1 insect protection for Pioneer brand corn hybrids, according to a company report.

This marks the EPA's first approval of an in-the-bag solution for insect refuge management, offering reduced corn rootworm refuge and a more convenient path to refuge compliance for growers, Pioneer officials say.

"This decision is not only a regulatory milestone, but also great news for corn growers," says Paul E. Schickler, president of Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont business. "Optimum AcreMax 1 products will offer growers increased convenience, reduced refuge and an additional tool for maximizing field-by-field productivity. We are demonstrating the product in farmers' fields this year to show its value and support the 2011 ramp up."

To help deter corn pests from developing resistance to biotech traits, the U.S. EPA requires growers to plant some corn without a specific insect protection trait to serve as a "refuge." The process of planning and planting a traditional separate insect refuge is time-consuming, and refuge corn is at risk for damage and yield loss. Optimum AcreMax 1 insect protection reduces the traditional 20% corn rootworm refuge by half and puts it in the seed bag, officials say, eliminating the need for separate rootworm refuge while increasing the ease and flexibility of planting the corn borer refuge.

Pioneer officials say multiyear research trials demonstrate that Optimum AcreMax 1 products with 90%t Herculex XTRA deliver the same strong yield performance as a field planted with 100% Herculex XTRA. Additionally, market research indicates that two out of three growers prefer Pioneer's convenient in-the-bag approach to refuge versus reduction of refuge alone.

DuPont announced Monday the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has granted commercial registration of Optimum AcreMax 1 insect protection for Pioneer brand corn hybrids, according to a company report.

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