The Agricultural Biotechnology Stewardship Technical Committee (ABSTC), a consortium of Bt corn registrants, has reported that corn IRM compliance for the 2010 growing season remained unchanged from 2009.  The ABSTC also reports that the compliance assurance programs for corn borer-protected, corn rootworm-protected, and corn borer/corn rootworm-protected, stacked Bt corn continue to be effective. 

In 2010, the majority of growers surveyed planted the required size of refuge on their farms and the majority of growers surveyed planted a refuge within the required distance for all of their Bt corn fields.  Furthermore, the survey indicates that the vast majority of all Bt corn fields have an associated refuge.  These findings are similar to those in the surveys conducted over the previous three years.

Today, growers have more product choices offering unique IRM requirements which can complicate refuge planning.  It is encouraging to see compliance results stabilizing, but there is room for improvement.  The ABSTC is optimistic that the Compliance Assurance Program enhancements, along with collaborative IRM education efforts will help growers understand the importance of following refuge requirements and provide direction on how to meet the minimum refuge requirements for each product.

“Since the introduction of biotech traits, the vast majority of corn growers have followed refuge requirements to help protect the efficacy of this important technology,” said Blindauer. “All growers must follow these requirements to help preserve the long-term value of this technology.”

The ABSTC submitted the results to the EPA as part of the 2010 Bt corn IRM Compliance Assurance Program (CAP) report, which includes an annual report of the compliance results and a summary of actions being taken by Bt registrants to promote and support IRM compliance for the upcoming growing season.