Lower commodity prices could bring resurgence of non-Bt corn… and pests

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Outside expanding fields of conventional corn, an old yield robber is waiting in the weeds and likely planning a return. Corn borer appeared to meet its Waterloo in 1997, when Bt corn made a smash-hit debut and began wiping fields of the pest. However, nature is a patient player. With a consistent increase in conventional acreage plantings, corn borer might be waking from 20 years of slumber.

. . . .

Arlen Koepp, a Clarkfield, Minn., farmer, has almost abandoned traited acreage—95% of his corn is in conventional plantings. . . .

Koepp’s conventional return was dictated by dollars. “I might run into borer problems with this much conventional acreage, but GMO corn priced me out. . . . I want to use Bt corn, but it isn’t priced competitively.”

With lower commodity prices, interest in moving to. . . conventional hybrids has grown. In a sense, farmers planting non-Bt hybrids get the best of both worlds: lower seed prices and proxy Bt protection from the vast domain of traited acreage. However, every conventional acre increase opens the window of opportunity a bit wider for corn borer’s return.

Read full, original post: Conventional Corn Beckons Old Foe

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