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 @ 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.  

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GMO regulations detrimental to crop development and research #research #GMO #GE #crop #agnerds #agnet #agchat


Check out page 729+ – article by Strauss et al on the implications of regulations on biofuel crops/development (grasses and woody plants) in US entitled “Far reaching Deleterious Impacts of Regulations on Research & Environmental Studies of Recombinant DNA-modeified Perennial Biofuel Crops in the US”
October 2010, Volume 60 No. 9

“…the current legal and regulatory situation places severe constraints on both the ability to develop GE crops at all, and then on the performance of adequate environmental studies to inform regulatory and other social decisions about their use…”  (p. 738).

Strauss etal outline some ways to address the current constraints/problems:

1. focus regulatory requirements on defined risks.
2. use scientific criteria for design of categories for a low-level presence (LLP) system
3. create an early stage LLP management system
4. clarify the role of NEPA and the CBD

According to Strauss etal, “…the regulatory thicket is deep and thorny…”  Resolving issues will require reworking of laws (in US and internationally) or “…a fundamental court precedent that stops the penalization of the GE process” and “enshrining into law the ‘product not process’ principle” (p. 739).

“Solving these problems will require new ways of thinking and strong scientific and political leadership to move us toward a regulatory system that enables, rather than arbitrarily blocks, the use of GE as a tool to accelerate and diversify the breeding of … biofuelcrops.”  (p.739). 

An article from outlines the report by Strauss and colleagues

Article excerpt:  “The current environment poses enormous legal risks that can and have cost some companies millions of dollars in civil lawsuits, the scientists said, sometimes for damages that were more of perception and market issues, than of safety or environmental impact.”

mapping the Canadian and EU flax supply chain: a systematic analysis to estimate costs associated with AP & Triffid Flax

Centre for Society and Genomic’s “Ten Years After: Mapping the Societal Genomic Landscape” Conference
May 2010

Smyth&Ryan-AP 2010 Extended Abstract.pdf
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Positive impact of commercialized GM crops… a new article in April issue of Nature Biotechnology

Peer-reviewed surveys indicate positive impact of commercialized GM crops


Janet E Carpenter

Nature Biotechnology

“…. [The] analysis summarizes results from 49 peer-reviewed publications reporting on farmer surveys that compare yields and other indicators of economic performance for adopters and non-adopters of currently commercialized GM crops. The surveys cover GM insect-resistant and herbicide-tolerant crops, which account for >99% of global GM crop area. Results from 12 countries indicate, with few exceptions, that GM crops have benefitted farmers. The benefits, especially in terms of increased yields, are greatest for the mostly small farmers in developing countries, who have benefitted from the spillover of technologies originally targeted at farmers in industrialized countries.”