By Ron Hammond, Andy Michel and Bruce Eisley, Ohio State University entomologists
Pioneer has just announced a new transgenic corn hybrid that will serve as an intermediate and technical step between Optimum AcreMax 1 (from the first family of Optimum AcreMax products) to Optimum AcreMax and Optimum AcreMax Xtra (from the second family of products). While having Bt proteins for both corn borers and corn rootworm control, Optimum AcreMax 1 still needs a separate 20% refuge for the corn borer portion of the mix (refuge-in-the-bag is only for rootworms), whereas Pioneer’s intent for Optimum AcreMax (for above-ground pests) and Optimum AcreMax Xtra (for above- and below-ground pests) is to be truly refuge-in-the-bag for both pests.
Until that time comes, hopefully within a year or so, they have obtained EPA approval and released to the market an intermediate product called Optimum Intrasect which contains two gene proteins, Cry1F and Cry1Ab, for corn borer control (rootworm control is not part of Optimum Intrasect). Pioneer has obtained EPA approval for the reduction of the refuge for Optimum Intrasect to a 5% block or strip, similar to that of SmartStax, the Monsanto product. Thus, growers planting Optimum Intrasect can plant a much smaller refuge compared with earlier products.