Focus on Yields 2011 and other good stuff by Brookes & Barfoot – reduced pesticide use…

December 2011

Oops! It appears that I twittered a defunct link!  Thanks for the heads up, @GMOpundit!

Anyway, the brochure “Focus on Yields – Biotech crops: evidence of global outcomes and impacts 1996–2009” (June 2011) by Brookes and Barfoot is available on the PG Economics website @ http://www.pgeconomics.co.uk/ but I am including it as an attachment to this blog entry. I am also attaching the Brookes and Barfoot report: “GM crops: global socio-economic and environmental impacts 1996-2009.” I refer my farmer friends to a nice tidbit out of this latter report:

GM technology has had a significant positive impact on farm income derived from a combination of enhanced productivity and efficiency gains (Table 1). In 2009, the direct global farm income benefit from biotech crops was $10.8 billion. This is equivalent to having added 5.8% to the value of global production of the four main crops of soybeans, maize, canola and cotton. Since 1996, farm incomes have increased by $64.7 billion.”

Apologies to all who received and circulated the twitter message with broken link.  

2011globalimpactstudybrookes_and_barfoot.pdf
Download this file

focusonyields2011.pdf
Download this file

McHughen and Wager address misconceptions around ag biotech

December 9, 2010

Here is a great article to follow up from what transpired on the Dr. Oz  show this week.  Alan McHughen and Robert Wager co-author an article in the December 2010 issue of New Biotechnology entitled “Popular misconceptions: agricultural biotechnology”.  I have attached the article here and I think that the Open Source Gods will shine favourably down on me for that (even if the journal doesn’t).  Without going into detail, the article explains and refutes some of the most popular misconceptions around agricultural biotechnology.

Dr. Pam Ronald was a guest on the Oz episode which covered the issue of GE tech and food earlier this week.  Dr. Ronald did a fantastic job of representing the science of biotechnology but unfortunately she had difficulty competing with the sexy soundbytes of anti-GE sentiments parlayed by “Seeds of Deception” author J. Smith.  If that wasn’t enough, I was frustrated by Dr. Oz’s apparent bias against GE technology and GMO food – and I quote:

“…and this organic cereal contains no genetically modified seeds or products so that is an advantage…”

??!!!

Back to the McHughen/Wager article…. the authors state:

“Popular misconceptions might be considered amusing if they are held only by a small ‘fringe’ group. But sometimes the misinformation and fear can become infectious and pathogenic, instigating bad public policy, with substantial negative consequences to everyone.”

I think that Dr. Oz should have a read, don’t you? (see article attached below)

I refer to some other online sources relating to the Dr. Oz show and Dr. Ronald’s appearance on it:

Dr.Ronald’s follow up to her appearance on the show: http://scienceblogs.com/tomorrowstable/

Want some GOOD, BALANCED information? Here are some sources: bioforitifed,org, ucbiotech.org and academicsreview.org

mchughen_etal_popular_misconceptions_about_ag_biotech.pdf
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“This house believes…” Part II Debate results… http://econ.st/cedFUj

“This house believes that biotechnology and sustainable agriculture are complementary, not contradictory”

“…in the end the opponents of biotechnology—or, more precisely, the opponents of genetic modification in its current form—carried the day with 62% of the votes, against 38% for supporters of the motion.”

Check out my previous blog on this: http://doccami.posterous.com/this-house-believes-the-economist-facilitates

Economist_biotech_debate

http://www.economist.com/blogs/newsbook/2010/11/economist_debates

More developments on the EU Biotech Policy

“…Importing biotech crops for feed and food will continue to be regulated as now. Member states would not be allowed to prohibit the import and/or the marketing of authorized biotech products. The current list of authorized biotech crops for feed and food use includes one sugar beet, three soybeans, three rapeseeds, six cotton and 17 corn products. What would change is that once a new biotech crop is authorized for cultivation, member states would be able to ban it across all or part of their country for socioeconomic, ethical and moral reasons other than those included in the health and environmental risk assessment of the EU.”

EU Biotech Policy Debate Continues
Ross Korves
July 23, 2010

Excerpt:
“In 2009 the EU grew 234,000 acres of the one biotech corn (MON810) authorized in 1998. According to the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA), Spain had 187,900 acres of biotech corn, the Czech Republic 16,000 acres, Portugal 12,600 acres, Romania 8,000 acres, Poland 7,400 acres and Slovakia 2,200 acres. Germany and France had previously grown biotech corn. Romania grew 360,000 acres of biotech soybeans in 2006 before joining the EU in 2007. A biotech starch potato, known as ‘Amflora’, was authorized for cultivation and industrial processing in March 2010. Austria, Luxembourg and Hungary have already notified the Commission they will prohibit its cultivation.”

Full article at:
http://www.truthabouttrade.org/news/editorials/trade-policy-analysis/16303-eu…

ISAAA Videos and Podcasts on Global Status of Biotech/GM Crops

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The International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) has co-produced a series of six short videos on /Highlights of the Global Status of Biotech Crops/. Dr. Clive James, ISAAA Founder and Chair, provides a focused and comprehensive analysis of the different themes of the video series. All six videos are available in video streaming or in downloadable format at the ISAAA website (http://www.isaaa.org ) or in YouTube. The topics of the videos are:

* The Norman Borlaug Legacy
* Global Adoption of Biotech Crops
* Biotech Crops in Developing Countries: The Significance of Bt Rice
and Phytase Maize in China
* The Global Impact of Biotech Crops
* The Future Prospects of Biotech Crops
* The Mission of ISAAA: Knowledge Sharing

Web visitors may also subscribe to podcasts to be alerted on new videos such as those mentioned above, audio files and PDFs by visiting http://www.isaaa.org/rss/podcast/default.asp.

Isaaa

Discovery, development and registration of ag-related products to fight disease and pests: A study

Commissioned by Crop Life America and and the European Crop Protection Association (ECPA), Phillips McDougall conducted a study on the discovery, development and registration of new products designed to support modern agricultural production and fight pests and disease around the world.

The Study is available here:

http://www.croplifeamerica.org/sites/default/files/node_images/PM%20R%26D%20S…

Some key notes articulated by Jack Boyne, director of communications for Bayer CropScience:

  • 50 percent of the world’s harvest would be lost if pests weren’t controlled 
  • it takes approximately 10 years of testing to bring a product to market, during which time half the product’s patent protection is lost 
  • products are evaluated not only for possible effects on human health but also for their impacts in wildlife and the environment 
  • only one product out of 100,000 evaluated actually makes it to market 
  • today’s products are better tested, more selective and more precisely applied than ever before — often a dose is measured in fractions of grams per acre 

Read more on this in “Crop protection products help feed world” (by David Bennett, Farm Press Editorial Staff). http://deltafarmpress.com/news/crop-protection-products-help-feed-world-0312/

Facts about biotech…

Did you know?

…In 2007, the reduction in carbon emissions accomplished from adopting biotech canola in Canada alone was equal to removing 781,000 cars from the road for a year?! Global savings from all biotech crops equalled removing 6.3 million cars!

Yeah, but how does this compute?

Farmers that grow biotech crops are not only able to adopt conservation tillage practices, but they are also able to produce higher yields (good for them) with FEWER applications of crop protection products (good for the environment). Reduced applications means reduced number of passes with equipment and lower emissions!

(Thanks to the Council for Biotechnology Information (2009) for compiling this useful information!)

Grin496l