Information about July 17-20 FIFRA SAP Meeting on Resistance and Bt, Request for Comments on Experts for the Meeting, and June 5 Webcast on the Meeting Charge

On May 17, 2018, the Agency published a Federal Register notice announcing the location of the July 17-20, 2018, in-person meeting of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act Scientific Advisory Panel (FIFRA SAP) to consider and review “Resistance of Lepidopteran Pests to Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) Plant Incorporated Plants in the U.S.” The meeting will be held in the Rosslyn Ballroom at the Holiday Inn Rosslyn at Key Bridge, 1900 North Fort Myer Drive, Arlington, VA 22209. Please refer to the March 5, 2018 Federal Register notice for additional information.

The Agency also announced that the associated 2-hour preparatory webcast meeting will be held on June 5, 2018, from approximately 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. ET. The preparatory webcast meeting, conducted via Adobe Connect and telephone, will consider and review the scope and clarity of the draft charge questions for the July 17-20, 2018, in-person meeting. Registration is required to participate during this meeting. Continue reading

Planting a refuge necessary for preserving Bt technology

in Southwest Farm Press

Southern corn growers will pull their planters out of the shed and into the field in only a few short weeks. Bt corn will be planted on millions of acres across the South, protecting plants from damaging insects like corn borer and corn earworm. But to ensure that the technology remains effective, farmers in cotton-growing areas must plant a structured refuge alongside their Bt corn.

“Planting a refuge is the single most important thing we can do to keep Bt traits working for years to come,” said Chad Wetzel, a farmer from Tom Bean, Texas, and member of the National Corn Growers Association Freedom to Operate Action Team. “If we lose Bt technology as a defense against insects, growing corn will change dramatically.” Continue reading

Hybridized cotton reverses resistance of pink bollworm to Bt cotton

in Southwest Farm Press

Researchers with the University of Arizona and China discovered a surprising strategy to reverse pink bollworm resistance to genetically engineered cotton.

Cotton growers have been able to use genetically engineered cotton to fight the pink bollworm. This has happened as scientists have been able to produce pest-killing proteins from the widespread soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt. Without adequate countermeasures, scientists have discovered that pests can quickly evolve resistance. Continue reading

Study IDs Ways to Encourage ‘Refuge’ Planting, Slowing Resistance to Bt Crops

by Matt Shipman, North Carolina State University

A new study from North Carolina State University finds a significant shortfall in the amount of “refuge” cropland being planted in North Carolina – likely increasing the rate at which crop pests will evolve the ability to safely devour genetically engineered Bt crops. However, the study also identified actions that may make farmers more likely to plant refuge crops in the future.

For about 20 years, growers have made use of Bt crops to limit crop damage from pests. Bt crops, including corn, are genetically engineered to produce proteins from the Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) bacterium. These proteins are harmless to vertebrates, but toxic to a specific class of invertebrate crop pests. Continue reading

Cornell University scientists sequence genome for whitefly

In Delta Farm Press

A tiny insect that feeds on some 1,000 plant species and transmits more than 300 plant viruses, causing billions of dollars in crop losses each year worldwide, is now about to be subjected to new depths of research that could lead to more effective control.

An international team of researchers at the Boyce Thompson Institute at Cornell University has sequenced the genome of the whitefly, termed “a formidable threat to food security.” Continue reading

Soybean cyst nematode-resistant soybeans are not immune to pest

In Southeast Farm Press

by members of Syngenta

Many soybean farmers don’t realize their fields may be a buffet for soybean cyst nematodes, despite the use of SCN-resistant soybean varieties.

These microscopic, parasitic worms lurk beneath the soil and can feed off soybean plant roots before any above-ground crop damage is noticed. By then, the SCN population has grown much more numerous and stronger, becoming difficult to control as well as a huge economic threat to soybean farmers. Continue reading

Thrips resistance in cotton

In Southeast Farm Press

by Ron Smith, Alabama Cooperative Extension System

The first major insect we focus on during the cotton production season is thrips. Many have heard and read in recent years about the resistance of thrips to our available seed treatments.

We already recommend foliar sprays at the one to two true-leaf stage when cotton seedlings are not growing rapidly and/or thrips pressure is extremely heavy. As the resistance problem grows, we likely will see an increased need for foliar sprays on top of the seed treatments. Continue reading