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2-Plants: EPA clears Bollgard II Bt-cotton for 2003 planting

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TITLE:  EPA clears Bollgard II for 2003 planting
SOURCE: Western Farm Press, USA, by Elton Robinson
DATE:   Dec 31, 2002

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EPA clears Bollgard II for 2003 planting

Monsanto has received full U.S. regulatory clearance for Bollgard II, its 
new insect-protected cotton technology. Approval means that U.S. cotton 
producers will have access to Bollgard II cotton varieties in the 2003 
planting season.

Bollgard II cotton is expected to provide the grower with additional 
benefits including a broader spectrum of insect-control, and increased 
defense against the potential development of insect-resistance, said David 
Rhylander, director of cotton marketing for Monsanto.

"The technology will also provide similar agronomic advantages as its 
predecessor, Bollgard cotton, including an increased yield and lint 
potential, improved insect control, reduction in input costs, savings in 
time, and reduced pesticide spraying," he said.

Bollgard II cotton is the second-generation of insect-protected cotton 
developed by Monsanto. This technology contains two different insect-
control genes, compared to the single insect-control gene in its 
predecessor and will provide producers with 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week 
control of target pests.

"Bollgard II cotton will provide cotton producers with excellent control of 
a broad spectrum of pests that typically impact end-of-the season profits," 
noted Walt Mullins, cotton technical manager for Monsanto. "These pests 
include cotton bollworm, tobacco budworm, pink bollworm, European corn 
borer, cabbage and soybean loopers, fall and beet armyworms, saltmarsh 
caterpillar and cotton leaf perforators."

"Bollgard II cotton is as much an improvement over the original Bollgard 
cotton as Bollgard was over conventional cotton," said Blake Layton, 
Mississippi State University Extension entomologist.

Durable technology

Monsanto's 2002 field research on Bollgard II cotton demonstrated the 
durability of the technology under extreme insect pressure. In some areas, 
cotton pests wreaked havoc on conventional cotton plots in unsprayed trials 
 leaving the crop with 100 percent fruit damage  where unsprayed Bollgard 
II sustained only 1 or 2 percent boll damage, Mullins noted.

"The technology's higher level of insect control  especially of such 
economically significant cotton pests  highlights the substantial 
improvement of this technology over Bollgard cotton and reinforces the 
value of this technology for cotton producers," Mullins said.

As part of the registration conditions, EPA will require the same insect 
resistance management programs that growers have been following the past 
several years.

Insect resistance management plans for Bollgard and Bollgard II cotton are 
designed to maintain the effectiveness of these products against the target 
pest insects. These plans require planting a non-Bollgard cotton refuge 
within a specific distance from each Bollgard II cotton field to serve as 
habitat for susceptible insects.

USDA and FDA also confirmed the food, feed and environmental safety of this 
technology earlier this year.

"Seed companies' supply of Bollgard II cotton seed will be limited in 2003; 
however, we expect that seed production in 2003 by licensed seed companies 
will ensure a significant increase in Bollgard II cotton seed availability 
in 2004," noted Rhylander.


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