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22 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM GM MAIZE PRODUCTION pains cultivation of genetically mod- ified maize for protection against corn borers started in 1998 with the registration of the maize variety Compa CB containing the event Bt 176 developed by Syngenta in the National Catalogue. The MON810 event developed by Monsanto was authorised in the EU in 1998 however culti- vation of maize varieties containing this mod- ification was initiated in Spain in 2003 when several varieties containing this event were registered. Since 2005 MON810 is the only insect-protected maize approved for cultiva- tion in the EU while more than 200 varieties have been registered by several companies providing an extensive portfolio of GM varie- ties to farmers. The area in Spain where GM maize is grown is fairly localised and strongly linked to corn borer-infested areas. The main GM maize cultivation area is located in the countrys northeast around the Ebro river valley with around 78956 hectares. The southwest region around the Guadiana and Guadalquivir river valleys is the second-larg- est area to be cultivated with GM maize where approximately 11323 ha and 10518 ha are grown respectively. For the past 18 years the percentage of acreage dedicated to GM maize varieties has increased from 4.8 per cent in 1998 to about 30 per cent in the last five-year period see Figure 2. Bt-maize acreage is estimated from mandatory sales reports by seed companies to Spanish authorities every season whereas the total maize acreage comes from other sta- tistical sources such as Common Agricultural Policy declarations. Farmers have adopted Bt-maize since 1998 due to pest pressure by the European corn borer Ostrinia nubilalis and by the stalk borers Sesamia spp.. The highest con- FIGURE 1. Main production areas of GM corn in Spain. centrations of Bt-maize plantings are found in regions which have traditionally experienced medium to high pest pressure such as Aragon and Catalua. ANOVES TECHNICAL USER GUIDE The plant breeding industry is committed to educating farmers and promoting good agri- cultural practices with Bt-maize. The Spanish industry represented by ANOVE Spanish Association of Plant Breeders has developed a technical user guide on good agricultural practices for growing GM maize in Spain. The Good Agricultural Practices and Technical User Guide is included in all seed bags mar- keted in Spain and for this reason is exten- sively distributed among growers. The seed industry has put particular emphasis on the development of communi- cation tools for implementing all the require- ments for growing GM varieties. As a result the information provided in ANOVEs user guide includes Bt-maize technical informa- tion insect resistance management practices refuge implementation and management traceability and labelling obligations and coexistence recommendations. INSECT RESISTANCE MANAGEMENT The EU cultivation of Bt-maize varieties is being accompanied by an insect resistance management plan to proactively avoid andor delay the potential development of corn borers resistant to the Bt-protein. The key elements of the EU IRM strategy associated with Bt-maize cultivation are refuge implementation and resistance monitoring in field populations of targeted pests. Refuge obli- gation means farmers growing more than five ha of Bt-maize must plant an area with maize that does not express the Bt-protein conven- tional and corresponds to at least 20 per cent of the surface planted with Bt-maize. Many initiatives to educate farmers on the importance of compliance with refuge planting have been made by the seed industry. Each purchaser of GM maize receives the ANOVE technical guide containing the latest information on growers IRM obligations. In addition to widespread dissemination of infor- mation pertaining to refuge requirements to technology users a grower education pro- gramme with sales and agronomic advisory Over the past five years Spains acreage dedicated to GM maize varieties has stabilised. Partnerships among the members of the Spanish Association of Plant Breeders have been key to the development of communication tools grower education programmes and commitment to good agricultural practices and insect resistance management for Bt maize cultivation. BY ALMUDENA DE LA CRUZ Source Spanish Ministry of Agriculture Food and Environment SPAINS