DuPont business Pioneer Hi-Bred has introduced the first “in-the-bag” seed refuge system. The new insect protection system, Optimum AcreMax, will provide corn growers with improved productivity by increasing the number of acres they can plant to the industry's most advanced insect control options.

The first phase of Optimum AcreMax insect protection will be launched as early as 2009, pending regulatory approval. The system will eliminate the need for farmers to plant separate corn borer and corn rootworm refuges with their Pioneer brand Bt corn hybrids.

“Pioneer is using innovation and science, and the strongest traits in the industry, to give U.S. growers a superior solution to protect crops from yield-robbing insect damage,” said Frank Ross, Pioneer vice-president, North America Operations. “For the first time, farmers will be able to plant all their acres with a single product that satisfies refuge requirements.”

The Optimum AcreMax system is made possible through the insect control technology of Herculex Xtra, which not only provides the most effective control of corn rootworm, but also is effective against above-ground insects including corn borer, western bean cutworm and black cutworm.

“The Optimum AcreMax system will help farmers as soon as next year,” said Bill Niebur, DuPont vice-president, crop genetics research and development. “And each generation of the Optimum AcreMax system will build on the last, bringing farmers greater convenience, yield potential and efficacy.”

Pioneer plans to launch the first phase of the system, Optimum AcreMax 1 insect protection in 2009, pending regulatory approval. Optimum AcreMax 1 will eliminate the need for a farmer to plant a separate corn rootworm refuge.

Pending regulatory approval, the first phase will be a combination of a base hybrid with the Herculex Xtra trait and that same base hybrid with the Herculex I trait, all in the same bag. This approach would reduce the need to plant a separate rootworm refuge and increase the number of acres planted to the industry's best below-ground pest protection.

All of the seeds will be glyphosate- and glufosinate-tolerant and treated with an insecticidal seed treatment that protects the seed from secondary below-ground insect pests.

Earlier, DuPont reached a milestone in the commercialization of Optimum AcreMax 1 with the formal submission of its regulatory dossier to the EPA.

“We're confident our scientific and field trial data supports the approval of our novel approach to more effectively manage insect pests in corn,” said Niebur.

Beginning as soon as 2011, Pioneer plans to introduce the next generation of its integrated insect protection program — Optimum AcreMax 2 insect protection. Optimum AcreMax 2 will combine the YieldGard corn borer gene with Herculex Xtra, providing two modes of action for above-ground pests. This addition will extend the integrated refuge strategy to include corn borer and allow growers to meet all of their refuge requirements with a single product.

Pending EPA approval, this approach will result in a low-level refuge integrated in the product mix to increase yields, simplify compliance, extend the durability of the traits and completely eliminate the need for a separate block or strip refuge.

DuPont recently announced a trait access agreement with Syngenta for its MIR162 trait that allows Pioneer to commercialize a unique product solution for farmers dealing with secondary insect pests. The MIR162 trait will be integrated into future insect protection products to provide a second, and in some cases, third mode of action for above-ground pests such as corn earworm, southwestern corn borer, western bean and black cutworm, fall armyworm and sugarcane borer.

Pending regulatory approval, this advanced insect control system will allow corn farmers in the South to plant more of their acres to Bt corn — increasing their overall yields and productivity and simplifying their farm operations. This combination of technologies also could provide an expanded insect control solution for farmers in other countries.

For additional information about the company or Pioneer products, check the Web site: http://www.pioneer.com.