Insect Resistance Management (IRM) Program

Good Stewardship is the primary objective. Growers are required to sign a Monsanto technology stewardship agreement. Compliance with the Insect Resistance management (IRM) practices for specific biotech traits as mandated by the EPA and the stewardship agreement. Growers must utilize all seed with biotech traits for planting a single crop. The objective of this program is to delay or prevent the development of insect resistance to this biotechnology by providing a refuge of nonbiotech cotton so that a susceptible gene is present in the population of insects. It is imperative that growers adhere to the management schemes so that the technology persists for several years and benefits the industry as a whole.

It is the responsibility of the NMSU Seed Certification program to preserve the benefits of genetically modified insect protection technology on cotton and oversee the insect resistance management (IRM) program which must be part of the long term and short term planning by the seed industry and growers alike. The EPA has mandated an IRM program for genetically modified Bollgard cotton. Bollgard cotton contains an insecticidal protein from Bacillius thuringiensis that protects cotton plants from certain lepidopteran insect pest. Bollgard II has two insecticide proteins. When larvae feed on these plants larval survival is reduced without effecting beneficial insects. The EPA has approved the use of a refuge area planted in proximity of Bollgard varieties to lessen the chance of targeted insect pests developing resistance to the Bt protein. Compliance to maintaining refuge is critical for the success of the program. Refusing to adhere to the program could jeopardize the success of the entire bollgard program.