“With harvest, many growers are finalizing their plans for storage and handling,” says NCGA Biotech Working Group Chairman and president-elect Leon Corzine. “We all need to take another look and make sure of the products we may be using because some of them may have limited marketability.”
Corzine suggests that growers who are in doubt consult their seed suppliers as well as their delivery points – be it elevators or processors.
“Actually, growers should be checking this as we have more possible contracts each year for specialty grains as well as other identity-preserved products outside of biotechnology,” he adds.
“It’s an exciting time. We’re reaping what we have sown a few months ago and everyone is anxious to see what kind of yields we will have and how well some of these products may or may not have worked,” Corzine says. “And we are able to evaluate whether the added expense turns out to be an economic advantage for us at the end of the day.”
In order to preserve the technology, Corzine says, growers of biotech products should “Know Where to Go” with their harvested grain and be aware of what it takes to segregate and channel some of these products, keeping in mind proper combine and truck clean-out.
NCGA reminds growers of corn hybrids not yet approved for export to the European Union (EU) they should be aware of how their harvested grain will be marketed. Those corn growers have three options:
Corn growers interested in the third option can visit the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) Web site, asta.farmprogress.com, for a listing of elevators willing to accept corn lacking EU approval. Growers should then call the elevator.
“This marketing discipline will ensure the integrity of the U.S. grain supply and will demonstrate the respect U.S. corn farmers have for the desires and preferences of our customers,” says Corzine.
He noted that, after verifying a facility’s willingness to accept biotech corn that has not yet been approved for import into the EU, corn growers should arrange timing and terms of acceptance for delivery.
“Some facilities may need to segregate corn,” he explains. “Therefore, scheduling deliveries or other pre-harvest coordination may be necessary.”
While harvest is heavy on the minds of most corn growers right now, NCGA also reminds them that seed-buying season is right around the corner. “So you need to know what to buy,” says Corzine.
NCGA recommends that growers select hybrids with the full knowledge of whether the number is conventional, one approved for EU export or one not yet approved for EU export.
“The Know Before You Grow web site at www.ncga.com lists the hybrids approved for EU export,” Corzine continues. “NCGA recommends that growers read their grower agreements before signing purchase orders, ask questions of their dealer and are fully aware of the requirements of those agreements. It is vital that hybrids awaiting EU approval are kept out of certain export and processing channels.”
Corzine also reminded growers of corn borer resistant and corn rootworm resistant corn of the need for proper insect resistance management (IRM) procedures.
“Some of our growers have gone through the interview process for the farm visits to make sure that they are using proper IRM and had the education they needed to do the IRM according to the rules,” he noted, adding that, in conjunction with the U.S. EPA, the biotech industry has developed a compliance assurance plan (CAP) to help with the education effort.
“CAP was developed as people watch around the world to see if we can play by the rules as well as protect the technology and keep from having resistant insects,” he explains, noting a key component to CAP is the “two strikes you’re out rule.” Growers who fail to implement proper procedures for two consecutive years will be denied future access to the technology.