I cringe sometimes when someone asks what the different refuge requirements are for the various Bt corn products currently on the market. It is usually at the end of a talk and I have less than a minute to answer them. Don’t get me wrong. I am very happy that growers are asking about refuge. More growers have been asking over the last year which means that they do care about preserving the technology by reducing the risk of resistance to Bt. But to try to explain it in a simple, easy to understand way is getting extremely difficult.
So the best way to do it for now is to display it in a table titled Approved Transgenic Corn Traits and Refuge Requirements for Canada. (click on link) I can’t take any credit for the hard work that went into this table. My colleagues Chris DiFonzo, Eileen Cullen and Jocelyn Smith did the hard work. I just recently updated it to include what is currently registered in Canada as of November 2010.
Not on the list is Pioneer’s Optimum AcreMax products which have not yet been granted approval by the CFIA. And I suspect a few other products which are under review right now with CFIA and the EPA will also need to be added to the table once approved. As new products receive approval, I will make sure to update the table above.
Once we start to see more products containing more than one trait to control the same insect , reduced refuge and/or refuge in the bag will become common practice. It certainly will make it easy on us extension people who are tasked with educating growers and reps on the various refuge requirements for Bt corn in Canada.
Bottom Line: MAKE SURE YOUR DEALER IS PROVIDING YOU WITH THE CORRECT AMOUNT OF REFUGE SEED THAT YOU NEED FOR THE PRODUCT THEY HAVE SOLD YOU.