Field Insights

The Attribute Trait Stack Simplifies Growing Sweet Corn

The Syngenta Attribute trait stack is giving field corn growers easier entry into the sweet corn market.

Growers continually seek opportunities that will maximize their farms’ efficiency and profits. When those opportunities mean producing high-quality sweet corn made easy, the rewards can be especially sweet.

Syngenta develops its sweet corn hybrids with this premise—and growers’ needs—top of mind. By giving field corn growers a sustainable way to incorporate sweet corn acres into their existing operations, these hybrids are helping to bring satisfaction to them, their families and anyone else who consumes their sweet corn.

Herbicide Tolerance

In 1998, Syngenta laid the foundation for its traited sweet corn offerings with the introduction of the Attribute® trait stack. Attribute sweet corn hybrids offer tolerance to LibertyLink® herbicide and contain a gene that expresses Cry proteins for built-in, season-long control of key lepidopteran pests.

As the next evolution in its line of sweet corn hybrids, Syngenta introduced the Attribute II trait stack in 2014. Attribute II hybrids feature the power of Vip3A and Cry1Ab proteins, providing added protection from harmful lepidopteran pests, while offering additional herbicide tolerances that other commercially available sweet corn varieties don’t.

“Growers are looking for convenience,” says Mark Jirak, Syngenta Eastern vegetable commercial unit manager. “They want a herbicide program that can go across their field and sweet corn acres, without having to worry about their herbicide choice damaging their sweet corn crops.”

Attribute II can also help growers manage herbicide-resistant weeds in their fields by offering tolerance to two different nonselective herbicides.

“Growers who are struggling with glyphosate-resistant weeds have the option of using either glyphosate or glufosinate,” says Ryan Walker, Ph.D., head of global LSV (large-seeded vegetables) research at Syngenta.

Powerful Protection Against Insects

In addition to herbicide tolerance, Attribute II provides protection from harmful sweet corn pests, including European corn borer, corn earworm, fall armyworm and Western bean cutworm. Attribute II combines the Cry1Ab protein found in the Attribute trait stack with the proprietary Vip3A protein from Syngenta to provide broader, more effective protection against pests. These proteins bind to different receptors within an insect’s midgut membranes, greatly reducing the risk of insect resistance.

“Attribute II has the best insect resistance by far,” Walker says. “Based on trial data* and what we’ve seen in the field, it’s head and shoulders above any other product in the market as far as performance goes—both in the range of insects it protects against and its ability to help growers maintain damage-free ears to harvest.”

The high-level protection that Attribute II offers can also help growers cut down on insecticide sprays, saving time and money while reducing the impact on the environment.

“If you’re looking for environmentally friendly tech that can help you reduce your number of insecticide sprays, Attribute II is the best thing that’s out there,” Walker says.



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want a herbicide program that can go across their field and sweet corn acres, without having to worry about their herbicide choice damaging their sweet corn crops.” credit=”Mark Jirak”]

No Task Too Small

Growers with smaller operations who have used Attribute II for its insect control capabilities have also seen its benefits. Jirak advises his brother Ron, who runs the family farm they grew up on, Jirak Brothers Produce, in Tampa, Kansas. Ron also sells the farm’s sweet corn directly to local residents and grocery stores.

To maintain the operation’s success, Jirak Brothers Produce depends on Attribute II sweet corn hybrids. “My brother uses Attribute II on the farm because the worm control is unsurpassed,” Jirak says. “When you’re selling to consumers who are used to buying sweet corn without any damage, it becomes an issue when your corn has worms. Attribute II gives us the best opportunity for worm-free corn, which is especially important when we sell produce at the farmers market or at the family’s roadside stand.”

For smaller acreages or planted areas, Syngenta offers Attribute II in convenient smaller-size 2,500-seed packets.

Jirak says that advising the home farm operation gives him a unique perspective on trait selection and efficacy. “I’m able to experience firsthand the benefits of using Attribute II on my family’s farm,” he says. “This real-world vantage point makes my work with these traits at Syngenta even more relevant and rewarding.”

*Data comes from Galen P. Dively, Ph.D., Department of Entomology, University of Maryland, who conducted individual sweet corn field trials at 15 locations across seven states (NC, VA, WV, MD, DE, NJ and NY) in 2017. The purpose of the trials was to compare the insect control efficacy of different Bt hybrids with non-expressing isolines.