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EPA approves natural refuge option for Bollgard II cotton

Jun '07
Monsanto Company announced that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved a natural refuge option for its Bollgard II insect-protected cotton planted from Texas east, excluding some Texas counties. Now cotton producers in these eligible regions can take advantage of non-cotton crops and other plants as a refuge for certain pests and will not be required to plant a non-Bt cotton refuge for Bollgard II cotton.

A structured, non-Bt cotton refuge continues to be required as part of an insect resistance management (IRM) program for Bollgard cotton in all states, and for Bollgard II cotton planted outside eligible areas.

"This is great news for U.S. cotton producers in eligible regions who choose to plant Bollgard II cotton," said Walt Mullins, Monsanto technology development manager. "It allows them to simplify their pest control program by using advanced cotton technology with the built-in IRM mechanism of two effective Bt genes. Bollgard II cotton also provides the most effective built-in worm control technology available for most leaf- and boll-feeding worm species."

The ability for cotton growers in eligible regions to plant Bollgard II cotton without a non-Bt cotton refuge should enable increased cotton lint yields by eliminating the yield losses associated with planting non-Bt cotton refuge acres.

Bollgard II cotton is the second generation of insect-protected cotton developed by Monsanto; it produces two different insect-control proteins compared with the single insect-control protein in its predecessor, Bollgard cotton. Bollgard II cotton produces both the Cry2Ab2 and Cry1Ac proteins.

Each protein provides control of cotton bollworm and tobacco budworm, which gives Bollgard II cotton dual efficacy for both pests. The two-protein system also increases the durability of cotton varieties against the development of insect resistance compared with the single-protein Bollgard cotton product.

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