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Top Australian Cotton Farmer Gives GM Evidence

22 November 2000 PR131/2000

TOP AUSTRALIAN COTTON FARMER GIVES GM EVIDENCE

Chairman of the Australian Cotton Industry Council, Peter Corish, outlined his own personal, and the Australian cotton industry's, experience of using Bt cotton, named Ingard cotton, over the past four seasons.

Mr Corish said that he had taken part in the original field trials in 1994, which had been very tightly controlled.

"A major benefit of Ingard cotton was that I could reduce my pesticide use by 40 to 50 percent," Mr Corish told the Commissioners. "I planted Ingard cotton crops adjacent to waterways, roads and around my family's house, which had a major environmental benefit."

While the supplier of Ingard seed presently charges a premium for the seed that almost directly offsets the savings on pesticide use, Mr Corish said the benefit of lower pesticide use was enough for him to switch crops.

He also said that an alternative source of Bt cotton will soon be available, and that the competition would reduce Ingard cotton seed costs.

Mr Corish commented that Australian attempts to produce organic cotton had failed to be profitable without chemical use. He believed that GM technology would be the only viable way to produce cotton using organic principles.

ENDS For further information: Catherine Petrey 04-473-7269 Chairman of the Australian Cotton Industry Council, Peter Corish, outlined his own personal, and the Australian cotton industry's, experience of using Bt cotton, named Ingard cotton, over the past four seasons.

Mr Corish said that he had taken part in the original field trials in 1994, which had been very tightly controlled.

"A major benefit of Ingard cotton was that I could reduce my pesticide use by 40 to 50 percent," Mr Corish told the Commissioners. "I planted Ingard cotton crops adjacent to waterways, roads and around my family's house, which had a major environmental benefit."

While the supplier of Ingard seed presently charges a premium for the seed that almost directly offsets the savings on pesticide use, Mr Corish said the benefit of lower pesticide use was enough for him to switch crops.

He also said that an alternative source of Bt cotton will soon be available, and that the competition would reduce Ingard cotton seed costs.

Mr Corish commented that Australian attempts to produce organic cotton had failed to be profitable without chemical use. He believed that GM technology would be the only viable way to produce cotton using organic principles.

ENDS For further information: Catherine Petrey 04-473-7269

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