Farmers around the world utilizing biotechnology are growing more crops in a more environmentally sustainable manner, according to a report issued this week from the United Kingdom-based PG Economics.
The PG Economics annual Global Impact Study quantifies the impact of agricultural biotechnology on the environment and on farmer incomes since biotech’s commercialization in 1996. A record 13.3 million farmers in 25 countries are now using agricultural biotechnology.
According to the 128-page study, the use of biotech crops has contributed significantly to environmental sustainability by reducing the release of greenhouse gas emissions from less fuel use and additional soil carbon storage from reduced tillage. In 2007, this reduction was equivalent to removing nearly 6.3 million cars from the road for one year.
The study also showed reduction in the need for pesticide spraying, indicating that for the years 1996-2007, global pesticide applications were reduced by 8.8 percent.
The use of biotech crops has provided substantial net economic benefits at the farm level amounting to $10.1 billion in 2007 and $44.1 billion for the 12-year period. Of the total farm income benefit, 46.5 percent has been due to yield gains, with the balance arising from reductions in the cost of production.
The study also provided further evidence that the use of biotech crops has helped to increase productivity and crop yields. It showed soybean production on the areas planted with biotech crops in 2007 was 29.8 percent higher than levels would have otherwise been if biotechnology had not been used by farmers. By the same standard, corn production saw a 7.6 percent gain, cotton production saw a 19.8 percent gain and canola saw a 8.5 percent gain.
There is currently no commercial production of biotech wheat in the world. NAWG supports the introduction of biotechnology into the wheat crop and continues to work with U.S. Wheat Associates, grower groups in other countries and many others throughout the wheat chain to ensure this goal is achieved in a responsible manner.
To view the full Global Impact Study, please visit www.pgeconomics.co.uk