Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


GM a failing biotechnology in modern agro-ecosystems

GM a failing biotechnology in modern agro-ecosystems

University of Canterbury (UC) researchers have found that the biotechnologies used in north American staple crop production are lowering yields and increasing pesticide use compared to western Europe.

A conspicuous difference in choices is the adoption of genetically modified/engineered (GM) seed in North America, and the use of non-GM seed in Europe.

The team led by UC Professor Jack Heinemann analysed data on agricultural productivity in north America and western Europe over the last 50 years.

Western Europe and north America make good comparisons because these regions are highly similar in types of crops they grow, latitude, and have access to biotechnology, mechanisation and educated farmers.
The findings have been published in the peer-reviewed International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability.

"We found that the combination of non-GM seed and management practices used by western Europe is increasing corn yields faster than the use of the GM-led package chosen by the USA.

"Our research showed rapeseed (canola) yields increasing faster in Europe without GM than in the GM-led package chosen by Canada and decreasing chemical herbicide and even larger declines in insecticide use without sacrificing yield gains, while chemical herbicide use in the US has increased with GM seed.

"Europe has learned to grow more food per hectare and use fewer chemicals in the process. The American choices in biotechnology are causing it to fall behind Europe in productivity and sustainability.

"The question we are asking is should New Zealand follow the US and adopt GM-led biotechnology or follow the high performance agriculture demonstrated by Europe?

"We found that US yield in non-GM wheat is also falling further behind Europe, demonstrating that American choices in biotechnology penalise both GM and non-GM crop types relative to Europe.

"Agriculture responds to commercial and legislative incentive systems. These take the form of subsidies, intellectual property rights instruments, tax incentives, trade promotions and regulation. The incentive systems in North America are leading to a reliance on GM seeds and management practices that are inferior to those being adopted under the incentive systems in Europe.

"The decrease in annual variation in yield suggests that Europe has a superior combination of seed and crop management technology and is better suited to withstand weather variations. This is important because annual variations cause price speculations that can drive hundreds of millions of people into food poverty.

"We need more than agriculture; we need agricultures - a diversity of practices for growing and making food that GM does not support; we need systems that are useful, not just profit-making biotechnologies - we need systems that provide a resilient supply to feed the world well," Professor Heinemann says.
ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

China Shopping: NZ-China FTA Upgrade Agreed Among Slew Of New Deals

New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English and China Premier Li Keqiang signed off a series of cooperation deals spanning trade, customs, travel and climate change and confirmed commencement of official talks on an upgrade to the nine-year old free-trade agreement between the two countries. More>>

ALSO:


Media: TVNZ Flags Job Cuts To Arrest Profit Decline

Chief executive Kevin Kenrick said the changes were aimed at creating "a sustainable future video content business for TVNZ in an ever-changing media market." More>>

ALSO:

Reserve Bank: Wheeler Keeps OCR At 1.75%

Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler kept the official cash rate unchanged at 1.75 percent, as expected, and reiterated his view that the benchmark rate doesn't need shifting for the foreseeable future. More>>

ALSO:

Trade Plans: Prime Minister's Speech To International Business Forum

"The work to improve public services, build infrastructure, and solve social problems is possible only because we have enjoyed sustained, solid economic growth. A big reason for that is the Government’s consistent agenda of economic reform, and our determination to open up more opportunities for trade with the world." More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news