The Agricultural Biotechnology Stewardship Technical Committee (ABSTC) has reported that corn Insect Resistance Management (IRM) compliance has remained stable through the period 2007 through 2009.

“Our industry is committed to ensuring that growers understand the importance of Bt technology stewardship so they continue in the future to provide benefits to growers and the environment ,” said Nick Storer, ABSTC Steering Committee Chairman. “While the overwhelming majority of growers are in full or partial compliance with IRM requirements, it is crucial that we all continue working together to sustain these important technologies.”

The ABSTC submitted the results to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as part of the 2009 Bt corn IRM Compliance Assurance Program (CAP) Report, which includes an annual report of the compliance results and a summary of actions being taken by Bt registrants to promote and support IRM compliance for the upcoming growing season.

With the re-registration of many of the 20 percent refuge Bt corn products scheduled to take place this October, the ABSTC also announced it is working with EPA officials to identify additional measures to improve IRM compliance.

“In anticipation of the re-registration process, EPA has indicated a serious need to elevate comprehensive refuge compliance,” said Nathan Fields, director of biotechnology and economic analysis for the National Corn Growers Association. “Growers need to research and review their requirements and prepare to take the steps needed to ensure they will execute the correct IRM protocols.”

Growers and dealers should take the following steps to ensure they comply with IRM requirements:

• Carefully evaluate Bt corn field layouts and refuge planting strategies.

• Ensure the availability of sufficient refuge product choices to meet the 20 percent refuge requirement.

• Do not wait until after all your Bt corn is planted to begin planting refuge corn.

• Don’t risk losing access to Bt technology by not complying with the IRM requirements.

As ABSTC members prepare for the re-registration process, they are working closely with the EPA to take more steps to increase IRM compliance, including increased compliance monitoring and stronger oversight measures. “The majority of growers understand the importance of planting Bt corn refuges to combat pest resistance,” said Storer. “The success of future Bt technologies and refuge planting innovations depends on our responsible stewardship of current Bt technologies.”