Selecting Trait Technology for Corn Insect Management

February 28, 2024

Corn product selection is a critical component to help achieve yield goals. Planting a range of product relative maturities with different offensive and defensive characteristics and biotech traits can help reduce the impact of poor environmental conditions, disease, and insect pressure. Two primary goals when selecting corn products are to minimize risk and maximize yield potential.

Several Bacillus thuringiensis (B.t.) trait options are available for insect protection across most corn production areas of the U.S. The first step in selecting a corn product is to identify the insect pest(s) that may be present and select the proper trait(s) for controlling those insects. Using insect trait protection technology can help reduce the risk of damage caused by insect feeding such as stalk and root lodging, dropped ears, and overall loss of yield potential.

VT Double PRO® Corn

VT Double PRO® corn provides above-ground protection from European corn borer, southwestern corn borer, fall armyworm, and corn earworm with two modes of action (MOA).

Trecepta® Technology

Built on VT Double PRO® Technology, Trecepta® Technology can be an important management tool to help reduce the damage caused by European corn borer (two MOA), southwestern corn borer (three MOA), fall armyworm (three MOA), corn earworm (three MOA), black cutworm (one MOA), and western bean cutworm (one MOA).

SmartStax® Technology and Corn Rootworm

Production practices that favor the growth of corn rootworm (CRW) populations include long-term corn-on-corn, late-planted fields, and/or planting late-maturing corn products. For example, full-season corn products used by many silage growers are often prime targets for escalating CRW beetle populations because they pollinate later in the season when other desirable adult CRW food sources have deteriorated.

SmartStax® Technology takes advantage of VT Triple PRO® Technology, Herculex® XTRA insect protection, Roundup Ready® 2 Technology, and LibertyLink® Technology. The traits include protection against above-ground insects, below-ground insects, and provide broad herbicide tolerance.

SmartStax® PRO Technology

SmartStax® PRO Technology combines the proven benefits of SmartStax® Technology corn rootworm protection with an additional, novel RNAi-based mode of action, providing improved corn rootworm control over a range of pressures.* Because RNAi technology works differently than a soil-applied insecticide or Bt-traits to control corn rootworm, it can help protect corn against this billion-dollar bug. In addition to corn rootworm, SmartStax® PRO Technology offers growers protection against the above-ground pests European corn borer (three MOA), southwestern corn borer (three MOA), fall armyworm (three MOA), black cutworm (one MOA), and corn earworm (two MOA).

*Based upon 2019 to 2020 Bayer internal trials comparing leading corn rootworm technologies in fields with moderate to heavy corn rootworm pressure.

VT4PRO™ with RNAi Technology

VT4PRO™ with RNAi Technology is the first product from Bayer that combines the power of the three modes of built-in action in Trecepta® Technology, an elite above-ground pest package for corn that controls insects such as corn earworm and western bean cutworm, along with the RNAi-based mode of action, the latest defense to help manage corn rootworm.

Corn product selection is a critical component to help achieve yield goals. The selection criteria used for historic product selection continues to be important and selecting the proper traits to help manage insect pressure can help maximize yield potential.

Corn Bacillus thuringiensis (B.t.) trait reference table for above- and below-ground insect control.  (** Dual-mode activity, * Single-mode activity)

Corn Bacillus thuringiensis (B.t.) trait reference table indicating which technology controls which insect pests.




1 Schnell, R., Porter, P., Baumann, P., and Fromme, D.D. 2015. Transgenic trait selection in corn. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. https://agrilifelearn.tamu.edu/s/product/transgenic-trait-selection-in-corn/01t4x000004OUiZAAW/.

2 Licht, M. 2017. A guide to choosing corn hybrids. Iowa State University. ICM News. https://crops.extension.iastate.edu/cropnews/2017/10/guide-choosing-corn-hybrids