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CropTalk: Qrome Questions with Dr. Cavanaugh

October 2019

Published on Tuesday, October 01, 2019

As you set forth your 2020 vision, there are new technologies at play in the seed industry. Trait names, trade names, and marketing campaigns can all obscure the message — making it difficult to discern the right traits for your farm. In an effort to help you understand one new technology in the corn market, Beck’s Director of Research, Dr. Kevin Cavanaugh, answered a few common questions.

Q: What is Qrome®?

A: Qrome® (pronounced like “chrome”) is a new molecular stack of insect traits available in corn sourced from Corteva. It offers above- and below-ground insect protection for European corn borer and corn rootworm larvae.

Q: How is it different from the Herculex traits I’m already using?

A: That’s the “molecular stack” part. Qrome has all the same insect trait expression as Optimum® AcreMax® Xtreme. The only thing that changed is the way the genes for the traits are arranged in the DNA. The molecular stack means that both are linked together instead of being two separate trait events.

Think about it this way: if I am trying to make pancakes, it is easier to buy a box of pancake mix and just add water instead of buying the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt separately. The end product is the same. All that changed is who mixed the flour and sugar. Qrome is a readymade trait mix that allows us to work with high performing traits in a more efficient manner.

Q: Will Qrome help yields on my farm?

A: Like all other traits on the market today, Qrome protects yield. The yield itself comes from the genetics of the corn. Beck’s has our own high performing collection of genetics, and we are uniquely positioned in the industry to provide access to high performing products from many other breeding programs, too. So, the real yield potential of Beck’s products is very strong. Qrome protects that yield from European corn borer, corn rootworm, and secondary pests such as black cutworm, southwestern corn borer and fall armyworm, while suppressing stalk borer and corn earworm. The molecular stack makes working with the traits a little bit easier for plant breeders and the trait integration team. Any steps we can take to make the breeding and integration process more efficient helps us to release new, higheryielding genetics more quickly. That’s where you will see the difference on your farm.

Q: What’s the refuge requirement?

A: Refuge requirement is established by the EPA to manage and reduce the chances of insects developing resistance to specific traits. Offering multiple modes of action decreases the likelihood of any one insect population developing resistance, so the refuge requirement goes down. Qrome has two modes of action against rootworm larvae, so the EPA requires a 5% refuge in the bag system, except in cotton growing areas. In the cotton belt, a 20% structured refuge is required.

Q: Is Qrome approved for export?

A: Qrome is currently approved for export to most corn importing countries. Qrome was approved by China in January 2019 and gained European approval in July 2019. We are still awaiting approval from the Philippines, but it is not affecting grain stewardship requirements today.

Q: When will Qrome be available?

A: In keeping with the Beck’s tradition of releasing new technologies as soon as they are available to Midwestern farmers, we will have Qrome available for the 2020 crop. Moving forward, we will expand our lineup with additional options.

Q: What hybrids are available with Qrome?

A: Three hybrids are available for the 2020 crop year: 4421, 5313, and 6282. We have additional seed production planned for next summer that will ramp up our Qrome lineup in the future.

Beck’s remains dedicated to delivering the latest in technology, powered by high-performing genetics. Reach out to your local Beck’s representative to learn more about emerging technologies in the seed industry.

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Samantha Miller
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