Corn Insect Control: Dow’s PowerCore and SmartStax Offer More Choices
Corn growers make big decisions that impact yield and profitability long before planters roll into spring fields. Selecting the right insect trait technology is one of those choices, and growers now have an opportunity to take a more prescriptive approach for their farms.
New for the 2017 season, PowerCore trait technology from Dow AgroSciences targets yield-robbing, above-ground insects in corn. The broad-spectrum control incorporates a pyramid of different Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) proteins.
PowerCore is part of the Dow corn insect trait portfolio, which also includes SmartStax trait technology for industry-leading protection of above- and below-ground insects. PowerCore and SmartStax are complementary technologies that give growers a choice so they can place the right trait technology on the right acre for prescriptive protection.
Corn rootworm can be troublesome in fields with corn-on-corn production. Growers in these areas could particularly benefit from the below-ground insect protection in SmartStax. When corn rootworm control is not needed, PowerCore offers season-long, above-ground insect control with multiple modes of action.
Scott Becker of Manson, Iowa, farms a 50-50 rotation with corn and soybeans. On acres where corn rootworm is not a problem, Becker likes the idea of planting the PowerCore trait technology. Although he doesn’t need the corn rootworm protection on every acre, he never knows if above-ground insects will be a problem in a given season. Becker got a firsthand look at PowerCore as part of a stewarded launch and was impressed with what he saw.
“I was interested in PowerCore because of my corn-and-beans rotation, and I knew that I didn’t need the below-ground trait across my whole farm,” Becker says. “PowerCore gives us above-ground insect control of a lot of different insects, especially ones that cause us problems like corn borer and corn earworm. With the different modes of action, PowerCore is like an insurance policy so you can sleep at night and not worry about above-ground insects.”
But Becker emphasizes that SmartStax trait technology still plays an important role on his farm and provides protection on acres where corn rootworm is an issue.
“I’ve had really good success with SmartStax trait technology and like the above- and below-ground insect control for corn rootworm. It provides excellent insect protection,” Becker says. “We can plant SmartStax if we have corn rootworm, or we can go with PowerCore to control fields that only have above-ground insects.”
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