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Managing European Corn Borer Resistance to Bt Corn with Dynamic Refuges

  • Silvia Secchi
  • Terrance M. Hurley
  • Richard L. Hellmich

Genetically engineered Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) corn provides farmers with a new tool for controlling the European corn borer (ECB). The high efficacy and potential rapid adoption of Bt corn has raised concerns that the ECB will develop resistance to Bt. The Environmental Protection Agency has responded to these concerns by requiring farmers to plant refuge corn. Current refuge requirements are based on models that do not consider the value of dynamically varying refuge in response to increased scarcity and diminished control over time or the importance of backstop technologies currently being developed. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate dynamically optimal refuge requirements with the arrival of alternative backstop technologies and to compare the results to an optimal static refuge policy. The results show that a dynamically optimal refuge requirement only provides modest benefits above a static optimum. The results also show how the type of backstop technology and characteristics of ECB population dynamics affect the optimal refuge requirement.

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Paper provided by Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University in its series Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) Publications with number 01-wp287.

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Date of creation: Oct 2001
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Handle: RePEc:ias:cpaper:01-wp287
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  1. Livingston, Michael J. & Carlson, Gerald A. & Fackler, Paul L., 2000. "Bt Cotton Refuge Policy," 2000 Annual meeting, July 30-August 2, Tampa, FL 21850, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
  2. Terrance Hurley & Silvia Secchi & Bruce Babcock & Richard Hellmich, 2002. "Managing the Risk of European Corn Borer Resistance to Bt Corn," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 22(4), pages 537-558, August.
  3. Hurley, Terrance M. & Babcock, Bruce A. & Hellmich, Richard L., 2001. "Bt Corn and Insect Resistance: An Economic Assessment of Refuges," Staff General Research Papers 5152, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  4. Regev, Uri & Shalit, Haim & Gutierrez, A. P., 1983. "On the optimal allocation of pesticides with increasing resistance: The case of alfalfa weevil," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 86-100, March.
  5. Terrance M. Hurley & Silvia Secchi & Bruce A. Babcock, 1999. "Managing the Risk of European Corn Borer Resistance to Transgenic Corn: An Assessment of Refuge Recommendations," Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) Publications 99-sr88, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University.
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