The first seed with the above- and belowground insect refuge contained in the bag has been planted on about 300,000 corn acres. The new Genuity SmartStax RIB (refuge-in-a-bag) Complete corn was approved in April. The late planting season helped Monsanto move more of the new product out to growers who were still waiting to plant corn.

“The response has been overwhelming,” reports Matt Kirkpatrick, Monsanto corn traits marketing manager. “This is the only product on the market with the refuge in a single bag. So farmers don’t have to worry about different hybrids, grabbing the wrong bag, or making sure the calculations on the refuge are correct. It’s just one bag in the planter and you are done.

“Plus, growers will not lose yield on a refuge [planted separately],” he adds.

Next year, Monsanto should have approval for an RIB product in its Genuity VT Double PRO line. Kirkpatrick says this RIB product is for aboveground protection and does not include corn rootworm control.

Monsanto will convert the majority of the Genuity SmartStax and Genuity VT Double PRO over to the RIB Complete products, Kirkpatrick says.

Developing the RIB product was a challenge. “We couldn’t put 20% unprotected seed in the bag with traited seed because we would lose too much yield,” he explains. “The pests eating on the 20% caused too much damage. So if we could get the refuge down to 5%, we could obtain comparable yields. There is a halo effect with the 95-5 blend. Roots cross and offer protection on plants that aren’t traited.”

Monsanto partnered with Dow AgroSciences to bring in the Herculex technology and combine with its own SmartStax and YieldGard technologies. This enabled the refuge reduction from 20% to 5% so RIB was possible, Kirkpatrick says.

“I think we’ll see a quick adoption for this technology,” he continues. “It is primarily for growers with heavy corn rootworm pressure, 90- to 105-day hybrids, heavy corn borer and corn-on-corn.”