Cropping

Report says genetically modified crops benefit farmers

By Jamie Salter

A new international report shows the economic, environmental and agronomic benefits for farmers adopting genetically modified crops.

CropLife Australia chief executive officer Matthew Cossey said the London-based PG Economics report confirmed the importance of Australian farmers having access to technologies to farm sustainably in a changing climate.

“We’ve been growing cotton with GM traits since 1996 and now almost all of Australia’s cotton production is GM,” Mr Cossey said.

“The economic gains and savings have been significant, with an average increase of on-farm income at $27.87 per hectare and the average reduction in weed control costs at $90.95 per hectare.

“Since 1996, GM cotton has gained Australian farmers almost $1.1 billion.”

Mr Cossey said another important crop for Australia’s farming sector was canola, with GM varieties delivering yield gains of between five and 22 per cent more than conventional canola.

“GM cotton and canola have also allowed for reductions of on-farm inputs and a reduced and more sustainable use of important crop protection chemistry."

He said GM crops were just as beneficial on a global scale.

“The report shows that when farmers are given access to GM crops, more food is grown, less fuel is being used on farm and less land is needed for production.

“In May, South Australian growers became the last mainland farmers to finally be granted access to GM crops long after their interstate competitors.

“South Australia embracing this agricultural technology from next season will see significant environmental and agronomic benefits with the farming sector in SA and nationally continuing to thrive.”

Visit pgeconomics.co.uk to read the full report: GM crops: global socio-economic and environmental impacts 1996-2018.