OTTAWA, Nov. 12 /CNW/ - Growers of Bt corn should make sure they're purchasing the correct amount of non-Bt corn when they place their orders this fall according to CropLife Canada, the organization behind a new government-approved program to increase the number of Bt corn growers complying with insect resistance management practices.
Farmers who grow Bt corn - a genetically modified variety of the crop that is resistant to certain insects - are required to plant a refuge area to stave off insect resistance. In the spring of 2011, CropLife Canada, the trade association representing the plant science industry, will launch its full-scale Bt corn grower assessment program to help ensure farmers are planting the appropriate refuge areas.
"What this program does is ensure Bt corn growers understand refuge planting requirements. As part of a larger insect resistance program, the assessments are an important part of encouraging compliance," said Lorne Hepworth, president of CropLife Canada.
The Insect Resistance Management (IRM) Implementation Assurance Program (IIAP), developed by CropLife Canada and approved by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, includes a Best Management Practices guide for industry and the on-farm, third-party assessments.
"Through our involvement as a member of the Canadian Corn Pest Coalition, Grain Farmers of Ontario has been supportive throughout the development of this program and encourages all Ontario Bt corn growers to participate," says Crosby Devitt, Manager, Research and Market Development. "As a reminder to growers, not every variety has the same refuge requirements so farmers must check before planting every time."
Beginning in the spring of 2011, assessors will be contacting select Bt corn growers to set up on-farm assessments. Those who are non-compliant with refuge requirements will receive follow-up visits from individual seed suppliers who will provide information to the farmers about how they can achieve compliance. Continued instances of non-compliance may result in sanctions against growers.
"As an industry we are committed to the responsible use of our technologies - and to developing fair and effective ways to ensure farmers comply with stewardship requirements," said Hepworth.
SOURCE CropLife Canada
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