The EPA’s granting of a commercial registration for YieldGard Rootworm corn completes the agency’s comprehensive environmental safety assessment. USDA and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration finished their reviews of YieldGard Rootworm corn previously.

“The registration of YieldGard Rootworm corn is great news for the hundreds of seed companies and tens of thousands of U.S. farmers who are seeing the benefits of biotech products,” said Jennifer Ozimkiewicz, marketing manager for Monsanto’s corn traits.

“Biotechnology is reducing farmers’ input costs, improving their returns and allowing them to reduce the amount of insecticide they use while controlling damaging insect pests.”

She said YieldGard Rootworm provides growers with in-seed protection, enabling the corn plant to naturally protect itself against damaging corn rootworm larvae. The corn rootworm has earned the nickname “billion dollar bug” as USDA estimates that the pest causes $1 billion in lost revenue annually in the U.S. corn crop.

University research for the past three years has shown that YieldGard Rootworm corn was more consistent in controlling rootworm damage than the best performing insecticide. In 2002, a number of corn growers participated in field trials of YieldGard Rootworm corn, seeing the benefits o0f the technology firsthand.

“In the past, we’ve had to spray up to three insecticides in a single growing season to control this pest,” said Kevin Penny, a Burlington, Colo. Grower. “So we are very excited about having the type of technology that can have this rootworm resistance within the plant itself.

YieldGard Rootworm corn will be available both in corn hybrids sold through Monsanto’s branded seed business – DeKalb and Asgrow seed companies – as through licensed, independent seed companies.

“In the first year of commercial introduction there will be a limited amount of seed available because of inherent factors in seed production,” said Ozimkiewicz. “But we recognize that growers are interested in the product and plan to have YieldGard Rootworm corn available for trial in those areas where rootworms are a significant problem for growers.”

For 2003, YieldGard Rootworm corn will be sold as a stand-alone product, she said. In the future, Monsanto will offer YieldGard Rootworm stacked with Roundup Ready corn and YieldGard Rootworm stacked with YieldGard Corn Borer corn under the trade name “YieldGard Plus” once EPA registration is completed on the product.

As a part of its registration, EPA will require an insect resistance management (IRM) program similar to those for earlier Bt products such as YieldGard Corn Borer corn. For YieldGard Rootworm corn, EPA will mandate that growers plan a 20 percent refuge of non-YieldGard Rootworm corn adjacent to or within the YieldGard Rootworm cornfield.

“We recognize that the ability of growers to realize the many potential benefits of YieldGard Rootworm corn will – in part – be determined by how practical the IRM program is to implement,” said Todd DeGooyer, technical development manager for YieldGard Rootworm corn.

“The IRM plan for this product closely resembles the IRM plan already in place for our corn borer technology, including a 20 percent refuge placed within or adjacent to the planted field.”

e-mail: ST. LOUIS – Monsanto announced that is has received EPA registration for its new YieldGard Rootworm insect-protected corn technology. The approval comes in time for growers to plant the first biotech corn designed to control corn rootworms in the 2003 season.

The EPA’s granting of a commercial registration for YieldGard Rootworm corn completes the agency’s comprehensive environmental safety assessment. USDA and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration finished their reviews of YieldGard Rootworm corn previously.

“The registration of YieldGard Rootworm corn is great news for the hundreds of seed companies and tens of thousands of U.S. farmers who are seeing the benefits of biotech products,” said Jennifer Ozimkiewicz, marketing manager for Monsanto’s corn traits.

“Biotechnology is reducing farmers’ input costs, improving their returns and allowing them to reduce the amount of insecticide they use while controlling damaging insect pests.”

She said YieldGard Rootworm provides growers with in-seed protection, enabling the corn plant to naturally protect itself against damaging corn rootworm larvae. The corn rootworm has earned the nickname “billion dollar bug” as USDA estimates that the pest causes $1 billion in lost revenue annually in the U.S. corn crop.

University research for the past three years has shown that YieldGard Rootworm corn was more consistent in controlling rootworm damage than the best performing insecticide. In 2002, a number of corn growers participated in field trials of YieldGard Rootworm corn, seeing the benefits o0f the technology firsthand.

“In the past, we’ve had to spray up to three insecticides in a single growing season to control this pest,” said Kevin Penny, a Burlington, Colo. Grower. “So we are very excited about having the type of technology that can have this rootworm resistance within the plant itself.

YieldGard Rootworm corn will be available both in corn hybrids sold through Monsanto’s branded seed business – DeKalb and Asgrow seed companies – as through licensed, independent seed companies.

“In the first year of commercial introduction there will be a limited amount of seed available because of inherent factors in seed production,” said Ozimkiewicz. “But we recognize that growers are interested in the product and plan to have YieldGard Rootworm corn available for trial in those areas where rootworms are a significant problem for growers.”

For 2003, YieldGard Rootworm corn will be sold as a stand-alone product, she said. In the future, Monsanto will offer YieldGard Rootworm stacked with Roundup Ready corn and YieldGard Rootworm stacked with YieldGard Corn Borer corn under the trade name “YieldGard Plus” once EPA registration is completed on the product.

As a part of its registration, EPA will require an insect resistance management (IRM) program similar to those for earlier Bt products such as YieldGard Corn Borer corn. For YieldGard Rootworm corn, EPA will mandate that growers plan a 20 percent refuge of non-YieldGard Rootworm corn adjacent to or within the YieldGard Rootworm cornfield.

“We recognize that the ability of growers to realize the many potential benefits of YieldGard Rootworm corn will – in part – be determined by how practical the IRM program is to implement,” said Todd DeGooyer, technical development manager for YieldGard Rootworm corn.

“The IRM plan for this product closely resembles the IRM plan already in place for our corn borer technology, including a 20 percent refuge placed within or adjacent to the planted field.”

e-mail: flaws@primediabusiness.com