PLANO, Texas - Any U.S. corn grower who wins one of the nine National Corn Growers Association national division yield titles in 2004, using seed protected by Poncho 250, Poncho 1250, Gaucho or Prescribe seed-applied insecticides from Gustafson, will take home a check for $4,000 in addition to his or her trophy.

This will be the fourth year for the cash award program, and the number of winners collecting the award has increased each year since 2001, according to Paul Holliday, corn product manager for Gustafson.

“The first year, we had two national winners from among the nine divisions,” Holliday says. “Then there were three more in 2002, all from different states. All used Gaucho seed-applied insecticide. In 2003, we had four national winners and our first repeat winner, David Hula of Charles City, Virginia. We also had one winner in 2003 who used Prescribe seed-applied insecticide, the higher-rate application of imidacloprid.”

Holliday says the 2004 growing season should be especially interesting because Gustafson received EPA approval for the sale of two new seed-applied insecticide products for use on this year’s crop. Poncho 250, the lower-rate product, provides better seed and seedling protection against early season insects than Gaucho, and Poncho 1250 delivers corn rootworm control comparable to the best soil-applied products, as well as equal or superior protection against other insects.

“Demand for both Poncho 250 and Poncho 1250 has been exceptionally high this spring,” Holliday says, “As a result, we’re anticipating that our number of NCGA national division yield winners will grow even larger this year.”

e-mail: flaws@primediabusiness.com