GMO Food

Biotech Crops Use Less Pesticide: Study Rebuts Perennial Anti-GMO Activist Lie


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Anti-technology activists incessantly claim that planting modern herbicide and pest-resistant biotech crop varieties results in farmers using more pesticides. For example, the thankfully failed anti-science Oregon GMO labeling initiative asserted…

…genetically engineered, herbicide resistant crops have caused 527 million pounds of additional herbicides to be applied to the nation's farmland.

This activist disinformation has been rebutted by researchers numerous times. The latest rebuttal is a study,"A Meta-Analysis of the Impacts of Genetically Modified Crops," just published in the journal PLoS One.  The study was done by by two German researchers from the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development, Georg-August-University of Goettingen. After analyzing 147 original agronomic studies dealing with pesticide applications on biotech crops, they report:

On average, GM technology has increased crop yields by 21%. These yield increases are not due to higher genetic yield potential, but to more effective pest control and thus lower crop damage. At the same time, GM crops have reduced pesticide quantity by 37% and pesticide cost by 39% (emphasis added). The effect on the cost of production is not significant. GM seeds are more expensive than non-GM seeds, but the additional seed costs are compensated through savings in chemical and mechanical pest control. Average profit gains for GM-adopting farmers are 69%.

More yield and lower pesticide applications means less potential damage to the natural environment. And more profits for farmers too! What's not to like?!!