Submitted to: The Economics of Modeling Environmental Impacts of Agricultural Biotechnologies
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/16/2002
Publication Date: 12/2/2002
Citation: HURLEY, T.M., SECCHI, S., BABCOCK, B.A., HELLMICH II, R.L. MANAGING THE RISK OF EUROPEAN CORN BORER RESISTANCE TO BT CORN. THE ECONOMICS OF MODELING ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS OF AGRICULTURAL BIOTECHNOLOGIES. 2002. P. 171-193. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Bt corn offers growers a powerful new tool for controlling European corn borer (ECB), a significant pest in the Midwestern United States. Industry and academic scientists have developed a high-dose refuge strategy to combat ECB resistance to Bt corn. We developed a stochastic dynamic bioeconomic model to evaluate the effect of treating refuge with conventional pesticides based on economic thresholds on agricultural productivity, conventional pesticide use, and the risk of resistance. We find that allowing refuge treatments should not substantially increase the risk of corn borer resistance. The reason for this is that conventional pesticide treatments for the ECB have been historically low due to high application costs and poor efficacy. With the widespread adoption of Bt corn, average ECB populations are likely to fall such that refuge treatments will be even more unlikely. Infrequent refuge treatments have little impact on the risk of resistance. Whether conventional pesticide treatment for refuge based on economic thresholds should be allowed in regions with historically high frequencies of pesticide use depends on the primary objectives for planting refuge. Refuge treatments should not be allowed without higher refuge requirements if the primary goal is to limit the risk of resistance. However, if the primary goal is to reduce conventional pesticide use or improve agricultural production, then allowing treatments with current refuge requirements should be sufficient.