The use of transgenic Bt maize hybrids continues to increase significantly across the Corn Belt of the United States. In 2009, 59% of all maize planted in Illinois was characterized as a "stacked" gene variety. This is a 40% increase since 2006. Stacked hybrids typically express one Cry protein for corn rootworm control and one Cry protein for control of several lepidopteran pests; they also feature herbicide tolerance (to either glyphosate or glufosinate). Slightly more than 50 years has passed since Vernon Stern and his University of California entomology colleagues published (1959) their seminal paper on the integrated control concept, laying the foundation for modern pest management (IPM) programs. To assess the relevance of traditional IPM concepts within a transgenic agroecosystem, commercial maize producers were surveyed at a series of meetings in 2009 and 2010 regarding their perceptions on their use of Bt hybrids and resistance management. Special attention was devoted to two insect pests of corn, the European corn borer and the western corn rootworm. A high percentage of producers who participated in these meetings planted Bt hybrids in 2008 and 2009, 97 and 96.7%, respectively. Refuge compliance in 2008 and 2009, as mandated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), was 82 and 75.7%, respectively, for those producers surveyed. A large majority of producers (79 and 73.3% in 2009 and 2010, respectively) revealed that they would, or had, used a Bt hybrid for corn rootworm (Diabrotica virgifera virgifera LeConte) or European corn borer (Ostrinia nubilalis Hübner) control even when anticipated densities were low. Currently, the EPA is evaluating the long-term use of seed blends (Bt and non-Bt) as a resistance management strategy. In 2010, a large percentage of producers, 80.4%, indicated they would be willing to use this approach. The current lack of integration of management tactics for insect pests of maize in the U.S. Corn Belt, due primarily to the escalating use of transgenic Bt hybrids, may eventually result in resistance evolution and/or other unforeseen consequences.
- Bt maize hybrids
- corn rootworms
- integrated pest management (IPM)
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)