Monsanto’s refuge in a bag product, “Genuity SmartStax RIB Complete” has been approved for use by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, completing a federal regulatory authorization process that is required in the U.S. Commercialization in individual states is still pending the required state authorizations and notifications.
Illinois Corn supported the product, calling it “extremely valuable for Illinois corn farmers once approved” in their comment letter on the topic last December.
“SmartStax RIB offers an opportunity to easily comply with refuge requirements. Additionally, because this product makes refuge compliance more convenient, it helps to ensure that seed trait technologies will be available for farmers for many years to come,” said Jim Reed, ICGA President in his comment letter to the U.S. EPA. “Continuous growth in available technologies is of vital importance to corn farmers in Illinois if we are to continue to produce the corn that the world demands of us. Protection of these technologies is also vital.”
“We’re committed to developing products that help improve farmers’ productivity. Farmers have told us they want a true, single-bag refuge solution, and this registration enables Monsanto to deliver,” said Brett Begemann, Monsanto Chief Commercial Officer and Executive Vice President. “This is a new level of value that hasn’t existed to date, as Genuity SmartStax RIB Complete corn simplifies refuge management by eliminating the structured refuge, which can contribute to timely, more-efficient planting and on-farm productivity.”
Genuity SmartStax RIB Complete is a blend of 95 percent Genuity SmartStax corn seed and 5 percent refuge (non-Bt) seed that farmers can plant across their entire field. This means that farmers who plant Genuity SmartStax RIB Complete products no longer need to plant a separate, structured refuge for above- or below-ground pests in the Corn Belt. For farmers who purchase Genuity SmartStax without the RIB Complete, the structured refuge is still required.
Illinois corn farmers are still encouraged to double check the amount of refuge needed for the particular varieties they are planting. That information can easily be found by downloading the National Corn Growers Association’s Refuge Calculator.
In corn farming, a refuge is an integral component of insect resistance management. The refuge provides a shelter for insects susceptible to Bt technology so that any rare individual insects that survive after feeding on Bt corn can mate with susceptible insects and produce susceptible offspring. This preserves Bt technology that helps corn plants protect themselves from insect pests.