Michele C. Marra, Nicholas E. Piggott, and Barry K. Goodwin
North Carolina State University
Corn rootworm resistance to one of the corn rootworm traits has been found in a few isolated places in the Corn Belt. Several crop rotations have been proposed by industry officials and academics to attempt to eliminate or delay this resistance. Three of these rotation schemes are evaluated in this article as to their relative monetary returns, as well as other, non-monetary attributes of the rotations. It is found that a rotation containing Roundup Ready 2 Yield® soybeans and Genuity® SmartStax® corn is the most profitable and has other attributes, such as less variable yields and an absence of externalities related to insecticides that may be valuable to growers. A rotation with Roundup Ready corn with no control for insects at two insertion points would be the least preferred by growers. A mixed corn rotation using both Genuity SmartStax and Agrisure® 3122 insect-resistance- traited corn and Roundup Ready corn with insecticides applied would be the second-most preferred rotation. Even so, mandated rotations impose additional costs on growers as well as regulators; and, particularly in an environment of rapidly changing technology in crop production as we see today, a mandated, set rotation would be strongly resisted by growers and would be sub-optimal from a cost standpoint.
Key words: Biotechnology, corn rootworm resistance, crop rotation.