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Seed and Seedcare resources

Insect resistance management


Before opening a bag of seed, be sure to read and understand the stewardship requirements applicable to the seed, including refuge requirements. In addition to the information provided on this page, stewardship requirements may be found in the Syngenta Stewardship Agreement that you sign and/or on the bags/tags accompanying the seed. By opening and using a bag of seed, you are reaffirming your obligation to comply with those stewardship requirements.

Insect resistance management

Bt corn must have an insect resistance management (IRM) plan.

This is a requirement set by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. It is also a strategy endorsed by leading scientists to reduce the risk of insect populations developing a resistance to Bt corn. Syngenta is committed to following, supporting, and providing growers with relevant information to help them implement the IRM requirements set by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Therefore, all growers must sign a Syngenta Stewardship Agreement before ordering any Agrisure® insect protected corn which, in part, demonstrates their commitment to supporting the best management practices to reduce the potential risk of insects developing resistance to Bt traits.

It is important to recognize that different products may have different insect resistance management requirements.

• Lead to insect resistance
• Slow down the introduction of new corn technologies that provide additional insect protection
• Affect individual grower access to Agrisure traited products


It is important to plant a refuge for your corn in order that the potential for target pests, such as ECB and CRW, to develop resistance to target proteins is slowed. This is done by providing pests an area for feeding in corn that does not contain the Bt trait, thereby maintaining a population of susceptible insects to mate with those that have developed resistance.

On-farm mixing of any seed is not an approved method of incorporation of refuge into traited seed. Syngenta is pleased to provide hybrids with E-Z Refuge for built-in compliance. For more information on what the refuge requirements are for your corn seed, please see the below table:


Minimum refuge requirement

Location and row spacing


 Agrisure Viptera® 3110




Adjacent to, or within Bt field

(4 row minimum; see planting options below)

Serves as an appropriate refuge for all pests targeted by these traits, including corn rootworm and European corn borer (ECB), or the Multi-Pest Complex™*.

Appropriate size to ensure enough susceptible Bt corn refuge mates are available

Agrisure Viptera 3220 E-Z Refuge®
Agrisure 3120 E-Z Refuge
Agrisure Duracade 5122 E-Z Refuge
Agrisure Duracade 5222 E-Z Refuge


E-Z Refuge


5% appropriate refuge material blended into the bag

Serves as an appropriate refuge for dual Bt traits to control ECB and/or the Multi-Pest Complex*

Appropriate amount to ensure enough susceptible Bt corn refuge mates are available

Additional convenience to ensure refuge is planted in all fields
*Multi-Pest Complex includes black cutworm, western bean cutworm, fall armyworm, corn earworm and common stalk borer.


For corn varieties that are not available as E-Z Refuge, the Canadian Corn Pest Coalition, in collaboration with the Ontario Corn Committee, the Canadian Seed Trade Association and industry, have developed a web-based calculator to help growers plan how to meet the minimum refuge requirements for each Bt corn hybrid on their farm. The calculator can be accessed at www.refugeselector.ca. Remember when calculating a refuge area, the calculation must be based on total corn acres.


Depending on the pest for which the refuge is being designed, there are various designs of refuge planting that will be effective. It can be planted as:

  • Block within the Bt field
  • Strips within the Bt field
  • Perimeter around the Bt field
  • Block adjacent to the Bt field
  • Separate block within a 1/4 mile of the field (ECB only).

NOTE: A neighbour’s field that does not contain Bt traits does NOT meet the refuge requirements.


Proper observation of your fields, as well as other integrated pest management strategies, will also aid in increasing the longevity of insect traits in the field. In order to first determine potential pest impact, a grower should consider pest populations in the area, crop damage from insect feeding seen in the previous year, and the rotation of the crop to consider pest overwintering habitats.

Scout refuge plantings to determine the level of insect pressure in your field. Then scout the Agrisure insect-protected hybrids to note their effectiveness and look for signs of damage that may indicate resistance to pest traits. If concerns arise, please contact your local Syngenta Agronomic Sales Representative immediately for further field investigation.

Growers should rotate every year if:

  • Fields have been in long-term continuous corn systems
  • Target insect populations are high
  • There have been problems with insect resistant trait performance

Rotation to crops such as soybeans, alfalfa or small grains will aid in removing the pests’ food source and cause a population shift.


In some cases, additional control measures for insect pests may be required. Foliar insecticide may be an option if target pest populations reach an economic threshold. Always ensure to follow proper labelled guidelines for pesticide sprays.

Additionally, growers may decide to use seed-applied insecticides, which represent one of the most advanced forms of crop protection technology available, offering growers a targeted, environmentally sustainable means of pest management. Applied directly to the seed only where needed, seed-applied insecticides require less active ingredient per acre compared to foliar and soil-applied pesticides, and minimize off-target drift, reducing the impact on non-target organisms. Always read and follow label directions.

Syngenta is committed to protecting pollinators and continues work to develop and implement additional solutions to address dust generated when planting treated corn and soybean seeds and to further efforts on other bee health issues. Best management practices for the handling of seed treated with an insecticide are an important tool to help maximize the benefits of seed treatments and protect bees and other non-target insects at the same time. For more information, please visit www.beehealth.ca.


Even in traited fields, small amounts of insect feeding damage may occur; however, any damage above threshold is considered to be unexpected damage (UXD). If you observe UXD in your field(s), it is imperative that you report this damage to your local Syngenta representative for follow up as it is mandatory that these cases be reported to the CFIA appropriately. Syngenta will facilitate investigation as to whether the damage is related to insect resistance, and provide you with information on strategies for minimizing pest damage going forward.

It is important to note that threshold levels of pest damage vary both by pest and by single vs. stacked trait usage. For more information, visit:
There are several resources available to assist with insect resistance management in Canadian fields:
  • Seed bags and tags – Seed bag labels and bag tags provide product and stewardship information and customer service contact information.
  • Canadian Corn Pest Coalition – A group of industry, academic, government, and extension specialists that work together for better understanding and management of corn pests and their associated traits. To view recommended planting layouts, maps and configurations, as well as information on corn pests and other management strategies, please visit www.cornpest.ca.
  • For information related to Western bean cutworm, please visit the pest page.
  • For information related to corn rootworm, please visit the pest page here
  • For information related to European corn borer, please visit the pest page here.
  • Further product stewardship and weed management information can also be found at the following:
    • Syngenta Hotline – 1-87SYNGENTA (1-877-964-3682)
    • CropLife Canada – www.croplife.ca