Mar 24, 2011  |  Today's News

As you’re preparing for planting the 2011 crop, remember to put your corn refuge acreage plans at the top of your list. Refuge compliance is an issue that anti-agriculture groups have latched onto. It’s in everyone’s best interest if we all double check to be sure that your on-farm obligations to refuge compliance are being met. Remember, it’s not a field by field pass or fail, it’s an entire farm pass/fail situation.

Confusion about refuge obligations can be no excuse for lack of refuge plantings. More than 20 percent of participants in the University of Illinois 2011 Corn and Soybean Classics indicated they planted Bt corn in 2010, and 94 percent plan to in 2011.

At a national level, the use of the “stacked” trait Bt corn has reached 47 percent, and for Illinois, we’re above that trend at 52%. Protecting the rights to the technology and its effectiveness should be at the top of everyone’s minds.

It’s certainly on the top of the minds of your detractors, as refuge compliance has become a poster-child issue for anti-agriculture interests. One bad apple can ruin the batch on this issue. Most people think the U.S. EPA is over-reaching its authority on many issues. On this one, however, farmers and industry agreed to self-policing.

Is your farm neighborhood ready to pass a spot-check on refuge compliance?

If you need assistance deciphering your refuge compliance obligations, please use the please download the Insect Resistance Management Refuge Calculator and apply the recommendations on your farm.

The IRM Calculator was developed under the leadership of the National Corn Growers Association Biotechnology Action team and is supported by IL Corn.

In recent years, the introduction of new refuge systems has given growers more options in setting up their refuge. NCGA’s calculator was developed as a tool to clarify those options with growers and show them how to execute the requirements properly.

The benefits of this new tool include all commercial Bt products on the market and features a trait selection process that allows farmers to run several planting scenarios on a field-by-field basis. Its updated interface and clearer planting options makes refuge calculation simpler to do. To download the NCGA calculator, please visit www.irmcalculator.com.