The National Corn Growers Association is pleased to announce that the enhanced Compliance Assurance Program (CAP), which includes on-farm refuge assessments, an online survey and IRM education and awareness, is seeing strong success and an increase in the number of growers planting their corn refuge.

The CAP is designed to improve compliance with Insect Resistance Management (IRM) requirements. The Agricultural Biotechnology Stewardship Technical Committee, a consortium of Bt corn registrants, submits an annual CAP report to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency describing industry-coordinated compliance assurance efforts for Bttraits.

In 2011, ABSTC launched a new IRM on-farm assessment program that focuses more assessments on growers who may not have purchased sufficient refuge seed according to their purchase records.

“The on-farm assessment process has proven to be an effective mechanism to identify Btcorn growers who are not following refuge requirements and provide assistance so that they can achieve compliance. The vast majority of growers found out of compliance in 2011 were found to be complying with the IRM requirements during the 2012 season,” says Mike Smith, ABSTC IRM subcommittee co-chairman.

In addition to on-farm assessments, an anonymous IRM grower survey was conducted. Highlights of the survey indicate a decrease in the percentage of growers not planting any refuge acres and strong adoption of integrated refuge products, which include Btand refuge seed interspersed in a single bag or seed box.

The CAP continues to be effective for all Bt corn products with structured refuge requirements. In 2012, the majority of growers surveyed planted the required refuge size on their farms and the majority of growers surveyed planted a refuge within the required distance for all of their Bt corn fields. Furthermore, the survey indicates that the percentage of growers not planting any refuge acres has declined from 16% in 2011 to less than 10% in 2012.  

“We are pleased to see that the number of corn growers not planting a refuge declined last season,” says Nick Storer, ABSTC steering team member. “We will continue to focus our education efforts in areas of highest risk of insect pest resistance development in the Corn Belt, as well as the cotton growing area, where IRM continues to be important.”