Production Blog

The Indispensable Corn Tool

Pam Smith
By  Pam Smith , Crops Technology Editor
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Knowing what specific proteins are in the corn trait stacks can help manage insects and insect resistance. (DTN Photo by Pamela Smith)

DECATUR, Illinois (DTN) -- There are some tools we simply can't do without. For me it is a laptop, a phone, GPS navigation and the Handy Bt trait table.

Thanks to this reference tool, I can easily track the combinations of corn traits being marketed today.

Corn growers have the same opportunity. It eliminates the need to tattoo all these proteins or changing product names on your brain and, at the same time, helps deploy them appropriately at a time when insects continue to challenge controls.

Michigan State University entomologist Chris DiFonzo updates this invaluable reference tool each year. Find it here: www.texasinsects.org/bt-corn-trait-table.html. The 2018 version takes a new turn by alphabetizing the traits instead of grouping by seed company.

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A column that tracks cases of resistance development to Bt proteins is an effort to alert producers and consultants to potential management problems, help in seed selection and encourage field scouting.

Depending on the insect, resistance may be widespread, as in western bean cutworm. Or resistance might be regional, as in corn rootworm. Find the citations for resistance listed here: https://lubbock.tamu.edu/…

The Trait Table is a national publication, so it's important to check with local Extension educators and seed dealers to determine the status of Bt resistance in your local area.

Based on overwhelming evidence from lab assays and the field, companies have now removed western bean cutworm control from Cry1F Bt hybrids. DiFonzo noted this year that only hybrids with the Vip3A Bt protein provide reliable control of this insect. For all other hybrid packages, western bean cutworm infestations should be managed using a combination of scouting and spraying at threshold, according to DiFonzo.

The updated table does not include the Dow Enlist trait package that will commercially debut in 2018. Enlist corn with herbicide tolerances to 2,4-D choline, glyphosate and FOP herbicides, will be stacked with either SmartStax or Powercore corn trait technologies, which are listed on the chart.

Pamela Smith can be reached at Pamela.smith@dtn.com

Follow her on Twitter @PamSmithDTN

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