Saturday, January 9, 2010

GE Crops & Pesticides

State of Science : Pesticides

"Impacts of Genetically Engineered Crops on Pesticide Use: The First Thirteen Years"
November 2009
Author(s): Charles Benbrook, Ph.D.
Chief Scientist
The Organic Center
Genetically-engineered corn, soybeans, and cotton now account for the majority of acres planted to these three crops. A model was developed that utilizes official, U.S. Department of Agriculture pesticide use data to estimate the differences in the average pounds of pesticides applied on GE crop acres, compared to acres planted to conventional, non-GE varieties.

The basic finding is that compared to pesticide use in the absence of GE crops, farmers applied 318 million more pounds of pesticides over the last 13 years as a result of planting GE seeds. This difference represents an average increase of about 0.25 pound for each acre planted to a GE trait.

GE crops are pushing pesticide use upward at a rapidly accelerating pace. In 2008, GE crop acres required over 26% more pounds of pesticides per acre than acres planted to conventional varieties. The report projects that this trend will continue as a result of the rapid spread of glyphosate-resistant weeds.

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