Growers facing both corn borer and corn rootworm pressure may order a new hybrid this winter to take care of both insects for 2004. Monsanto just received EPA approval for its new stacked hybrid called YieldGard Plus. The new hybrid contains Bt technology to protect against corn borer and corn rootworm.

The new hybrid still needs Japanese approval. Monsanto representatives expect to receive that approval in time for spring planting.

YieldGard Plus combines the YieldGard corn borer product that has been on the market for several years with the YieldGard rootworm technology approved last February. Together, the two products give in-plant protection to both insects.

“Not only will growers get the benefits of insect control, the technology also provides convenience because growers don't have to handle insecticide bags,” reports David Rhylander, head of Monsanto's U.S. traits business.

Limited supply

Monsanto will offer the new stacked technology in DeKalb and Asgrow brand hybrids. In addition, the company has licensed the technology to more than 100 other seed companies. The supply is expected to be tight.

Pricing information for DeKalb and Asgrow brands is not yet available.

Refuge requirements

EPA has approved two refuge plans for YieldGard Plus. One plan calls for a common refuge that covers both the corn borer and rootworm technologies. A field with 80% YieldGard Plus must have the remaining 20% planted with a non-Bt hybrid.

The other plan allows separate refuges. A field with 80% YieldGard Plus must have the remaining 20% planted with a hybrid not containing corn rootworm technology. The corn borer refuge must be within a half mile of the YieldGard Plus field and must be planted with a hybrid without corn borer technology.

Monsanto now plans to seek approvals for a triple-stacked hybrid. This hybrid will combine YieldGard Plus and Roundup Ready technology.