• As in previous years, adherence to refuge requirements in the cotton growing region was lower than in the Corn Belt. Factors contributing to lower adherence in the cotton region include larger required refuge size, smaller field sizes, more diverse cropping systems, and greater complexity of operations.

The cotton region will receive increased focus for on-farm assessments in 2012.

Education programs continue to highlight the specific refuge requirements in the cotton region and, in tandem with the on-farm assessment program, growers have the opportunity to correct individual instances of non-compliance for future growing seasons.

• As anticipated, targeted on-farm assessments identified more than three times as many corn growers who were out of compliance than in years past. Each member company independently reviewed available sales data for its Bt corn customers and assessments were conducted with growers who, according to the sales records, may have purchased little or no refuge seed. All non-compliant growers will undergo a second on-farm assessment to help ensure compliance in 2012.

“The objective of the on-farm assessment program is to identify individual non-compliant growers and bring them back into compliance through a phased approach,” said Joanne Carden, ABSTC IRM subcommittee co-chairwoman.

“The new approach to conducting IRM on-farm assessments has resulted in more non-compliant growers being identified, demonstrating that the enhanced CAP is working as planned.”

Carden added that the ABSTC is pleased with the outcomes from the phased compliance approach.

“The goal of these enhancements is to help growers understand the importance of following refuge requirements, provide clarity on how to meet the minimum refuge requirement for each product and ultimately improve compliance,” she said.

IRM Refuge Calculator Helps Growers Develop Plans for Refuge Compliance

“Since the introduction of biotech traits, the vast majority of corn growers have followed refuge requirements to help protect the efficacy of this important technology,” said Chad Blindauer, Chairman of the National Corn Growers Association Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team.

“All growers must follow these requirements to help preserve the long-term value of this technology. We encourage growers to work with their seed dealers and trait developers to understand the enhanced requirements under the CAP and improve refuge compliance.”

To assist farmers in developing an IRM plan and a refuge strategy for their farms, Blindauer said NCGA has established a number of resources, including recently launching an updated IRM calculator to clarify refuge system options and show growers how to execute the requirements properly.  

The IRM calculator was developed in collaboration with ABSTC companies to ensure it reflects all Bt products available in the industry.  

Farmers can access the IRM calculator via computer or a smart phone by simply logging on to www.irmcalculator.com http://www.irmcalculator.com/.