Corn growers, watch for volunteer StarLink corn

ST. LOUIS -The National Corn Growers Association is urging growers who planted StarLink hybrids last year to make the extra effort to control possible volunteer StarLink corn in 2001.

That may mean rotating to another crop or growing an herbicide-tolerant hybrid that lets you control volunteer StarLink.

“The danger is volunteer StarLink corn pollinating surrounding non-StarLink corn plants, further compounding the problems of keeping StarLink out of the supply of U.S. corn,” said Fred Yoder, Plain City, Ohio, farmer and chairman of the association Biotech Working Group.

“Rotation is the best choice,” he pointed out. “In an ideal situation for 2001, you’d rotate ground planted to StarLink last year into soybeans, oats, or some other crop that will allow you to find and destroy volunteer corn.

“But if you’re locked into growing corn-on-corn you need to plant herbicide-tolerant hybrids that let you eliminate StarLink volunteers,” Yoder stressed.

“The other control options are to grow either glyphosate (Roundup Ready) tolerant hybrids, or imidazolilione (IMI) Clearfield tolerant hybrids and then use those herbicides to kill volunteer corn and other weeds.”

However, the association is warning farmers about the use of Roundup Ready hybrids to control StarLink volunteers.

“Roundup Ready corn is not yet approved for export to the European Union and is restricted from some domestic wet-milling markets,” Yoder emphasized. “Check your primary corn market before selecting this control option.

“Planting glufosiliate (LibertyLink) tolerant hybrids or using conventional corn herbicides on StarLink ground will not control volunteers, because StarLink contains the LibertyLink gene,” he added.

“Also, you’ll need to check with your seed dealer to see whether the StarLink hybrids you planted last year were stacked with IMI. If they were, you can’t control volunteer StarLink with an IMI hybrid.”

The recommendation on controlling StarLink volunteers is in addition to a recent statement encouraging growers to plant seed that has been tested for Cry9C, the StarLink protein.

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