TCS Daily

Grower comments to EPA Scientific Advisory Panel

By Gary Queen - August 28, 2002 12:00 AM

Good morning, I'm Gary Queen. I'm from Burlington, Colorado and during this year I've worked directly with Monsanto in evaluating YieldGuard Rootworm on my farm.

Corn rootworm is the single most significant insect that growers like me contend with. Every year we have to treat for corn rootworm costing my operation $18.00 per acre. Sometimes we also must use a rescue treatment when our first treatment does not work.

I'd like to share with you several points regarding my personal experience with YieldGuard Rootworm:

  • Safety - With the protection against insect damage build in the seed, growers are not exposed to conventional pesticides and rescue treatments. These treatments can be very dangerous to us and to the wild life in the area. I would like to be around to see my grandkids and this technology makes this one step closer by eliminating more chemicals in our environment.
  • Simplicity - With an "in seed" solution, growers will have a more simple approach to insect control than ever before. Using this convenience, growers will be able to utilize their time at planting more efficiently.
  • Effectiveness - Rootworm protected corn is more effective than many of the traditional pesticide treatments. Insect control is not compromised by factors like weather conditions that can affect soil and folic applied treatments providing more consistent insect control.
  • By being able to use this technology, we are able to open up more avenues for growers like me to use for irrigation of our crops. Currently, we have a severe drought in our area and we are running out of water. We have the opportunity to use drip tape for irrigation - an avenue that is 100% efficient in watering and we can use along with this new technology to save our water and grow a better crop with rootworm tolerant corn.
  • Growers want to have access for the long term. We also know the realities of resistance development. We've all seen important chemicals lose their effectiveness because of resistance. We want to make sure that we can use this for years to come.
  • Growers are interested in making more money in their business. This technology allows us to make more money by effectively eliminating crop loses due to crop consultants not seeing the pest.

  • Time considerations - There is a narrow planting window and planting delays can impact yield. In my area, April 28 to May 5 is my planting window for optimum yield. After that point, the yield will start dropping. Using this technology will help us speed up planting - giving us a better opportunity to maximize our yields.

    We need to have an flexible insect resistance management (IRM) strategy so that the adjacent fields can still have 20% Refuge and we can cover more acres planting.

    I have a 16-row planter and it would slow the planting process up tremendously is we had to clean out the planter on every circle (pivot irrigation circle) to plant conventional corn for the Refuge. I plant one number for an entire circle thus eliminating the chance we will have a planting problem in that field. We have multiple pivots so we could easily use one for the Refuge.

    I want to emphasize that Flexibility is key. We are not going to use products that slow us down at planting time.

    New rootworm technology is not the problem. As growers, we are concerned with yield drag. We will slowly adapt this new technology - probably about 10% more each year being planted to rootworm corn.

    The rootworm corn has worked excellently on my farm this year

    Thank you for your time.


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