CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA — Australian farmers produced an additional 226,000 tonnes of canola through the use of bioengineered/genetically modified crops from 2008-15, according to a report released June 2 by CropLife Australia. Combined, Australian cotton and canola farmers have gained A$1.37 billion ($1.01 billion) worth of extra income since bioengineered crops first were approved for cotton in 1996.
The technology allowed Australian farmers to reduce their use of insecticides and herbicides by 22 million kilograms (48.4 million lbs) of active ingredient from 1996-2015. The reduced use of pesticides led to a savings of nearly 27 million liters of fuel and 71.5 million kilograms (157.3 million lbs) less carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere, according to the report “Adoption and Impact of Genetically Modified (GM) Crops in Australia: 20 Years’ Experience.” Graham Brookes, director of PG Economics, Dorchester, United Kingdom, developed the report.
“Australian farmers have always embraced innovation in agriculture, and the rapid adoption of G.M. crops is evidence of farmers seeing the clear financial, agronomic and environmental benefits modern crop breeding innovation provides,” said Matthew Cossey, chief executive officer of CropLife Australia, an industry organization representing the plant science sector. “It is also evident that state-based moratoria on G.M. crop cultivation serve no purpose other than to stifle innovation and in some cases act as a political football for people who blatantly refuse to acknowledge the real world benefits G.M. crops provide to farmers and the nation.”
Herbicide tolerant (HT) canola, which is mostly tolerant to glyphosate, was made available to farmers in New South Wales and Victoria in 2008. Farmers in Western Australia were allowed to use the HT canola in 2010. By 2015, 20% of the Australian canola crop used the HT technology even though farmers in South Australia and Tasmania still were not permitted to use it.
From 1996 to 2015, the amount of bioengineered crops planted in Australia rose to 714,000 hectares (1,764,000 acres) from 40,000 hectares (99,000 acres).The report may be found at link.