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Corn rootworm has been termed the billion-dollar pest causing economic yield losses and prompting growers to spend nearly $200 million annually for chemical control measures. The agriculture community is eagerly awaiting the delivery of another effective tool for control of this pest - the expected release of corn rootworm resistant corn (CRW corn).

To determine growers' likelihood of adopting this new seed type, DOANE Marketing Research Inc., St. Louis, recently completed a survey of nearly 1,400 growers in the 12 major corn states. Growers were given choices between CRW seed versus conventional control practices at various price ranges. CRW seed prices were presented in a range of expected per-acre royalty fees and included the cost of a seed treatment to control non-rootworm pests.

As expected, growers preferred lower rather than higher prices. When confronted with a corn rootworm problem, 50 percent of the growers favored using CRW seed when priced at $15.50. At $18.00 per acre, 24 percent of the growers were willing to use the seed; at $20.50, only 12 percent would purchase it.

When growers were presented with infestations of both corn rootworm and European corn borer (ECB), interest in using CRW corn dropped dramatically. At a price of $15.50, only 18 percent of the growers preferred using CRW seed. Most of the growers would use either conventional insecticides or ECB seed. As the price of CRW seed increased in this situation, adoption rates dropped further. This data indicates that offering stacked CRW/ECB corn would increase the adoption of CRW seed.

Similarly, the requirement of a 20 percent refuge, export restrictions, the need to switch seed brands, or the requirement of a 600-foot border with an IP contract would decrease the use of CRW seed. Export restrictions and the requirement of a 600-foot border would have the largest impact on adopting this technology.

Results are provided in an interactive application to provide for "what if" analyses of grower and acre preference shares across prices. AM

For more information about this study, contact Marypat Corbett ( or Roy Cleveland ( or 314/878-7707 at Doane Marketing Research.

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