Japan’s recent approval of the biotech industry’s first commercial triple-trait corn seed demonstrates the growing international acceptance of biotechnology, according to the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA).

Monsanto’s YieldGard Plus with Roundup Ready Corn 2 technology, which offers in-seed herbicide tolerance and protection against harmful insects, was approved for food and feed use in Japan. The event is the first triple-stack hybrid to gain approval in the United States and Japan.

“Triple-trait technology offers more in-seed protection than growers have ever had before,” says Darrin Ihnen, chair of NCGA’s Biotechnology Working Group. “This type of biotechnology allows growers to use less pesticide and less herbicide.”

While the Japanese government has fundamentally recognized the safety and value of biotech hybrids, the European Union (EU) has not yet approved numerous biotech events. Ihnen says NCGA continues to educate European government officials and agriculture leaders on the safety and benefits of biotechnology.

“Japan has its own solid science-based approval process, but they also have trust in our system,” Ihnen says. “We’re not there yet with the EU, and we need to continue our efforts to bridge that gap.”

As growers begin to make their planting decisions for next season, they should log on to NCGA’s Know Before You Grow Web site at http://www.ncga.com/biotechnology/know_where/ to learn more about the approval status of commercially available biotech corn seed, Ihnen says. The site features the approval status of numerous biotech events in the United States, EU and Japan, and helps growers decide what markets are most appropriate for their corn.

“As producers, we have to know we’re getting our products to the right markets,” Ihnen says, adding that corn growers will continue to meet the demands of both biotech and conventional corn markets. “Growers need to be good stewards of biotechnology to get the most benefit out of it.”

Ihnen also reminded growers that insect resistance management (IRM) is a crucial part of using insect-protected corn. NCGA offers the IRM Learning Center, http://www.ncga.com/biotechnology/insectMgmtPlan/index.htm an interactive online module that trains growers on proper stewardship of biotechnology.

The YieldGard Plus with Roundup Ready Corn 2 technology will be available for planting through Monsanto’s DEKALB and Asgrow seed businesses, as well as licensed, independent seed dealers. The seed will be available in limited quantities in 2005 with broader availability in 2006.