YieldGard Biotech Maize

Increasing Yields
Protection against the Maize Stalk Borer through Biotechnology

Your Most Deadly Enemies - The Maize Stalk Borer!
Wherever maize is produced, the two stalk borers (Busseola fusca and Chilo partellus) rob farmers of some of their production.

It's known that damage from maize stalk borers can cost growers from 6% to 30% of their yield.

Borers feed on all parts of a maize plant - leaves, stalk, sheath, ear collar, shank and ears - causing damage, reducing the flow of water and nutrients throughout the plant, thereby reducing yields.

Damage and losses to growers run into hundreds of millions of shillings.

Maize farmers have to battle two or three generations of borers each season.

The standard chemical methods of controlling stalk borers can be time-consuming and ineffective, often because of successive infestations during the season.

So, timing is crucial with narrow application windows in order to be effective. Multiple applications are necessary to suppress succeeding generations.

Even so, season long control of maize stalk borers is unlikely.

Better Protection and Higher Yields Through Biotechnology

For any grower, the bottom line is yield. The better you can protect your crop against yield-robbing insects, the bigger the payoff.

Now you can make your maize production more profitable, with healthier plants and higher yields than ever before.

With Monsanto’s new gene technology Yieldgard™, season-long maize borer protection is contained within the maize plant itself.

How Yieldgard Protection Works

The protection comes from a naturally occurring soil bacterium called Bacillus thuringienisis, or Bt.

With Monsanto’s advanced biotechnology, this Bt gene becomes part of the plant itself, where it produces a protein the maize stalk borer simply can’t digest.

From the first bite, the protein binds to receptors in the insect stomach, causing a breakdown of the lining. After a few bites, the maize stalk borer stops eating and dies within 72 hours.

From emergence to maturity it is effective everywhere the borers feed. Through multiple generations of borers Yieldgard provides protection from planting to physiological maturity. Your crop has the to reach its full yield potential. However, a heavy infestation of maize borers just after flowering may lead to slight damage. Spraying may be required in the case of late planting.

Healthier, More Productive, Higher-Yield Maize

When maize is protected from maize stalk borers, more vital nutrients and water are available to produce higher yields. That’s vitally important in years of adverse weather, such as the frequent semi-drought conditions of South Africa.

Broken stalks and lodged plants caused by stalk borers are no longer a problem. This all adds up to more maize and more productive farming operation.

Independent field tests indicate a yield increase of 10% to 30% with Yieldgard, and more than 95% control of stalk borers (Busseola fusca and Chilo partellus).

By controlling maize stalk borers less damage appears on the ears of maize plants. This means that there are fewer sites available for fusarium to grow. Fusarium fungi produce toxins - the most important one being fumonisin.

The ears on Yieldgard have less fusarium-infected kernels and therefore the grain quality is better than that of ordinary maize.

The Best Hybrids Are Being Developed With Yieldgard technology

Improving maize with the Yieldgard gene does not mean missing out on some other genetic advantage. With Yieldgard the best maize borer control is added to the best hybrids, allowing these hybrids to reach their full yield potential.

The Key to a Higher-Yielding Future: Insect Resistance Management

Mother Nature, through constant shuffling of genes is good at producing resistance. Our researchers believe that the best way to prevent resistant populations arising is to combine effective control in the target area with a nearby refuge. This is an area where strictly non-Bt maize is planted, and no Bt based insecticides may be used. Within this refuge, susceptible maize borers may feed and breed without being exposed to the Bt protein.

While this may not sound like a good idea, it preserves a population of borers that is still susceptible to the Bt maize protection. When members of this population mate with tolerant insects that may emerge from the Yieldgard protected fields, their susceptible genes dominate any tolerant genes in the overall gene pool.

The farmer is ensuring that a small but very important population of susceptible insects is close enough that susceptible insects can survive and overcome any resistance that might develop.

The “Refuge”: Managing Insect Resistance

Follow these simple steps to effectively control maize borers with Yieldgard.

Plant Yieldgard maize for effective control of maize borers.

Within seven days after the planting of Yieldgard maize plant a nearby refuge of conventional non-Bt maize with a growth season of the same period as the Yieldgard. This ensures a safe refuge where non-resistant borers can survive and counteract any potential resistance.

The refuge area must be on the same land and be planted under the same growing conditions as Yieldgard.

No Bt-based insecticides may be used in refuge areas.

In the case of option A other registered insecticides may be applied. In option B, no insecticides may be applied.

Monitor and scout your fields frequently. If you have 10% leaf damage caused by stalk borers (shotgun symptoms) in your Yieldgard planted fields, contact your Monsanto representative, seed dealer, or technology consultant.

For more specific refuge information, also contact the above.

Isolating Your Bt-maize Plantings

To help prevent cross-pollination of Bt-maize with non-Bt maize specifically cultivated for Bt-free contracts, the following steps are recommended:

A “time-isolation” differential of not less than three weeks between the flowering period of the Yieldgard - maize and non-Bt maize. This will ensure that pollination of the separate areas will occur at different times.

A separation of at least 400m between land planted with Yieldgard and any areas planted with non-Bt maize. This is to discourage cross-pollination as, for instance, can occur between white and yellow maize.

The combination of both of the above. The practice described in (2) generally limits cross-pollination but is no guarantee. Factors such as strong wind and insects can effect cross-pollination over distances greater than 400m. For this reason apply both methods of isolation.

Eight Excellent Reasons to Choose Yieldgard

The most important motivation in maize farming is generating optimal profits. Crop protection with Yieldgard offers:

  • The first effective control of maize stalk borers that lasts from planting to physiological maturity throughout the plant.

  • Healthier plants that are better able to withstand adverse weather (drought), and disease.

  • Simplicity in crop management and stalk borer control.

  • Reduced handling of, and exposure to, insecticides.

  • Cost savings in insecticides and applications.

  • Time and labour savings, especially during the busy summer months.

  • Better grain quality - less mechanical damage and fusarium infections to ears.

  • Finally, peace of mind - much of the worry is taken out of management.