SmartStax® Trait Technology

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SmartStax® uses multiple modes of action to protect corn from the broadest spectrum of above- and below-ground corn insects. It offers reduced refuge requirements of only 5 percent in the Corn Belt.By allowing growers to plant 95 percent of their acres to high-yielding, insect-traited hybrids, SmartStax helps farmers maximize whole-farm yield potential.


  • Corn hybrids with Dow AgroSciences SmartStax offer the broadest spectrum of insect control ever available.
  • Multiple modes of action in SmartStax attack insects in two areas of the midgut for improved efficacy and reduced insect resistance concerns.
  • With SmartStax, growers can reduce their refuge acres to just 5 percent in the Corn Belt.1 First generation Bt traits require a separate 20 percent refuge.
  • SmartStax helps farmers achieve higher whole-farm yield potential.

1 In cotton-growing regions, refuge requirements are reduced from 50 percent to 20 percent.


Insect Spectrum

european corn borer

European corn borer (ECB) feeds on all above-ground parts of the corn plant. ECB can produce one, two or multiple generations in a single season. First-generation ECB cases whorl damage, while second-generation ECB tunnels through the stalk.

black cutworm

Black cutworm (BCW) is the most damaging cutworm species in corn. Larvae sever plants near the soil line, reducing stands and lowering yields. Damage from BCW is often most evident in no-till or weedy fields, especially in poorly drained areas. Storm systems carry adult BCWs moths to the Corn Belt from the southern United States in April and May each year where they lay their eggs in green fields.

southwestern corn borer

Southwestern corn borer (SWCB) can produce two or more generations per year attacking corn at multiple growth stages. Later generations feed on developing silks and then tunnel into the stalk, leaving the plant more susceptible to lodging.

corn earworm

Corn earworm (CEW) larvae, most prominent in southern geographies, causes damage to corn by feeding on the tips of developing ears, but it is also known to feed on the whorl, silks and tassel. Damage to the ear not only decrease yield potential, but also creates an easy entry point for diseases.

fall armyworm

Fall armyworm (FAW) overwinters in the Southern United States and migrates north in the summer. Early generations of FAW feed on young corn, from emergence to waist high or approximately V8, and can destroy entire plants. Controlling FAW with traditional pesticides is difficult and often not economical.

western corn rootworm

Corn rootworm (CRW) causes $1 billion in lost revenue each year —$800 million in yield loss and $200 million in treatment costs — according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, making it the costliest corn insect pest. SmartStax uses multiple modes of action to effectively control corn rootworm and prevent insect resistance.


Yield Advantage

Hybrids with SmartStax demonstrated an average 11 bu./A yield advantage compared with non-Bt hybrids under minimal insect pressure in yield studies conducted in multiple states.

yield data chart with SmartStax® trait technology 



Growers using corn insect protection technology with Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), including SmartStax, are required to follow Insect Resistance Management (IRM) guidelines by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

A refuge — an area of non-traited plants — is a key element of IRM. Insects in the refuge are not exposed to the Bt insecticidal protein, allowing them to breed with rare insects that naturally resistant to Bt proteins. Susceptibility to the Bt proteins is passed to offspring, helping to protect the durability of the corn trait. More information, including refuge configuration options, is available in the Product Use Guide for SmartStax®.

SmartStax® technology also is available in a convenient, single-bag solution for refuge compliance through Corteva Agriscience SmartStax Refuge Advanced® packaging solution.

Growers must sign a Technology Use Agreement before the purchase and delivery of seed containing Herculex Insect Protection.  Go to for more details on the Corteva Agriscience grower agreement and IRM.

SmartStax® multi-event technology developed by Dow AgroSciences and Monsanto. ®SmartStax and the SmartStax Logo are registered trademarks of Monsanto Technology LLC. Always follow IRM, grain marketing and all other stewardship practices and pesticide label directionsB.t. products may not yet be registered in all states. Check with your seed representative for the registration status in your state. Always read and follow label directions.