EPA, USDA and FDA have granted Herculex I Insect Protection full food and feed registration.

CORN GROWERS will benefit from broader-spectrum insect control and expanded choices when a new generation of insect protection traits begins to reach the marketplace, according to the traits' developers, Dow AgroSciences and Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc.

Herculex I Insect Protection, the first trait in a new generation of Bt traits for corn, was granted full food and feed registration within the United States by the Environmental Protection Agency, the United States Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration. The registrants are moving ahead with approval in Canada and overseas markets, such as Japan.

Herculex I controls more insects than other Bt corn products on the market and will help corn better protect itself from damaging insect pests.

The family of Herculex Insect Protection traits is being developed in a research collaboration between Dow AgroSciences, a world leader in pest control and growing marketer of seed, and Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc., a world leader in seed technology and seed products. Both companies are using their unique scientific skills and strengths to develop the advanced lineup of improved insect protection.

Herculex I provides enhanced resistance against European and Southwestern corn borer, black cutworm and fall armyworm. This product also provides tolerance to Liberty herbicide, which controls more than 100 grass and broadleaf weeds on contact.

Registration efforts are under way in all major corn-producing and -consuming regions of the world. Until import approvals in those markets are granted, U.S. corn from Herculex I hybrids will be subject to market-channeling and export restrictions.

The Herculex I Insect Protection trait will be contained in select elite hybrids of Mycogen Seeds, an affiliate of Dow AgroSciences, and Pioneer.

Neither company has offered this product for sale in the 2001 growing season. Its introduction will be integrated within a strict product stewardship program to keep the grain out of export markets.

“Upon introduction, Herculex I Insect Protection will provide expanded choices for growers,” says Bob Iwig, director, worldwide product marketing for Pioneer Hi-Bred. “One of many biotechnology traits offered by Pioneer, this new generation trait will provide value to farmers by protecting corn plants against yield-robbing pests and helping each seed reach its greatest genetic potential.”

“The advantages Herculex I brings to growers include enhanced insect protection, handler safety and convenience, and availability in elite corn hybrids,” says Tom Wiltrout, global business leader for corn at Dow AgroSciences. “We are excited to announce this new product and the benefits that it will provide our customers.”

While the companies pooled their talents to research, develop and seek regulatory approval for the new technology, they will continue to independently market and sell their own corn hybrids on a competitive basis. Additionally, Dow AgroSciences will, in the future, license the technology to other seed companies.

As part of this collaboration, additional insect protection traits are being developed for other corn pests. The first of these, targeted at corn rootworm, will be launched after completion of research evaluations and regulatory approvals.

Corn products with built-in pest protection are beneficial to farmers and agriculture by offering superior control compared to conventional practices, easing farm labor requirements and reducing traditional insecticide treatments.