‘Refuge-In-The-Bag’ Seed Product Approved

The U.S. EPA has granted the commercial registration of Optimum AcreMax 1 insect protection for Pioneer brand corn hybrids. This marks the EPA’s first approval of an in-the-bag solution for insect refuge management, offering reduced corn rootworm refuge and a more convenient path to refuge compliance for growers.

“This decision is not only a regulatory milestone, but also great news for corn growers,” says Paul E. Schickler, president — Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont business. “Optimum AcreMax 1 products will offer growers increased convenience, reduced refuge and an additional tool for maximizing field-by-field productivity. We are demonstrating the product in farmers’ fields this year to show its value and support the 2011 ramp up.”

To help deter corn pests from developing resistance to biotech traits, the U.S. EPA requires growers to plant some corn without a specific insect protection trait to serve as a “refuge.” The process of planning and planting a traditional separate insect refuge is time-consuming, and refuge corn is at risk for damage and yield loss. Optimum AcreMax 1 insect protection reduces the traditional 20% corn rootworm refuge by half and puts it in the seed bag, eliminating the need for separate rootworm refuge while increasing the ease and flexibility of planting the corn borer refuge.

Optimum AcreMax 1 products integrate 90% of a trusted Pioneer brand hybrid containing the Herculex XTRA traits which deliver above- and below-ground biotech insect protection and 10% of a hybrid from the same genetic family containing the Herculex I trait for above-ground insect protection and to serve as the corn rootworm refuge. All seed in the bag is herbicide tolerant.

Multi-year research trials demonstrate that Optimum AcreMax 1 products with 90% Herculex XTRA deliver the same strong yield performance as a field planted with 100% Herculex XTRA. Additionally, market research indicates that two out of three growers prefer Pioneer’s convenient in-the-bag approach to refuge versus reduction of refuge alone.

In addition to the Optimum AcreMax 1 product registration, the EPA also has granted Pioneer registration for Optimum AcreMax RW products, which integrate 90% Herculex RW seed and 10% of a hybrid from the same genetic family without biotech insect protection. All seed in the bag is herbicide tolerant. Optimum AcreMax RW products may be grown alone or in conjunction with Optimum AcreMax 1 products as a corn borer refuge, allowing growers in high corn rootworm pressure areas the flexibility to protect 100% of their corn acres with the industry-leading Herculex RW rootworm trait.

The next-generation Optimum AcreMax 2 family of products would further maximize productivity and simplify insect refuge deployment through a refuge-in-the-bag solution for both corn rootworm and corn borer. Optimum AcreMax 2 insect protection products are anticipated for U.S. cultivation as early as 2012 upon regulatory approval and field testing.

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