The Transition To Bollgard II
BS in Entomology, Weed Science and Plant Pathology –
As we move forward through the transition phase of Bollgard® to better Bollgard II® varieties, we are trying to gain as much hands-on experience as possible, especially with newer Bollgard II varieties. Through on-farm trials, individual consultant trials, FACT trials, OVTs, university trials and company trials, I use both local and regional data to make the best variety decisions possible for my specific area. For 2009, I am recommending my growers plant a portion of their cotton acres in Bollgard II varieties and increase their Bollgard II acres for the 2010 growing season. I think you need two years of experience with a variety to gain confidence and realize its full yield potential.
To have confidence in a new variety and plant it on significant acreage on my clients’ farms, it must have a proven track record on both dryland and irrigated acres and have the ability to adapt under a wide range of environmental stresses. A variety must also respond to inputs, in that the more you spend on it, the more return you get.
We realize resistance management is the best insurance program we have to ensure that these traits remain effective for years to come, and growers remain profitable. If resistance were to occur, it would further handicap all cotton growers’ ability to stay profitable. We are in a war zone every year in south Georgia, and this year was no exception. We dealt with tobacco budworm, corn earworm and fall armyworm all season long. The increased cost associated with planting Bollgard II technology would have more than paid for itself this year. Also, there are no refuge requirements (in designated areas) for Bollgard II, which under Bollgard guidelines have resulted in 75 to 100 percent loss of revenue on refuge planted acres.
I feel very strongly that Bollgard II technology is a step in the right direction. Since the introduction of Bollgard cotton in 1996, we have experienced problems mainly with corn earworm and fall armyworm. Bollgard II increases Cry1Ac expression in flowers, squares and bolls compared to Bollgard. Historically, most classes of insecticides only last 10 to 15 years before resistance occurs, and we are there with Bollgard. Multiple gene products will provide better management options and help preserve the future and longevity of all traited products.