Journalists always look at things differently– especially farm economics

It pays not to cultivate GM crops, survey finds
By Steve Connor, Science Editor
Friday, 8 October
UK Independent

The first economic analysis of growing genetically modified crops on a wide scale has found that the biggest winners were the farmers who decided not to grow them.

The study, which looked at maize yields in the corn belt of the United States, found that farmers who continued to grow conventional crops actually earned more money over a 14-year period than those who cultivated GM varieties.

All farmers benefited from the significantly lower level of pests that came about after the introduction of GM maize to the US in 1996, but the conventional farmers who continued to cultivate non-GM varieties also benefited financially from not having to pay the extra costs of purchasing GM seeds.

Previous studies into the economics of growing GM crops have concentrated on the farmers who have taken up the technology, but the latest research looked at a wider area, including non-GM fields that may have benefited from being near fields planted with GM varieties….

GMO Pundit’s thoughts:

Then of course , one could also argue it pays not to be vaccinated as you get protection from herd immunity without getting a jab. But its a bit risky, and get out of countrol if there a ruch in the wrong direction.

To be serious, perhaps there is an optimum strategy, with say 85% of fams using GM every year, but the usage rotating each season, with a different 155 getting a “free-ride” every year.

Now that’s a novel idea– crop rotation.

Written by David Tribe

David Tribe’s research career in academia and industry has covered molecular genetics, biochemistry, microbial evolution and biotechnology. He has over 60 publications and patents. Dr. Tribe's recent activities focus on agricultural policy and food risk management. He teaches graduate programs in food science and risk management as a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Agriculture and Food Systems, University of Melbourne.

One comment

  1. And there’s the danger of doing the analysis weirdly. GM farmers got the benefits that non-GM farmers got, plus extra. The paper however glossed over this by not doing the analysis of GM farmer income compared to projected incomes should there be no Bt.
    Not to mention as was pointed out multiple times in the discussion on this on t’other posting that it does not appear that insecticidal spray costs were taken into account.

    To be serious, perhaps there is an optimum strategy, with say 85% of fams using GM every year, but the usage rotating each season, with a different 155 getting a “free-ride” every year.

    Or everyone uses GM on 85% of their farm (not allowable at the moment due to refuge, but with new refuge sizes coming in shortly this’d actually be higher than required by law) – everyone pays, everyone benefits. Seems to be oft overlooked that this is an option for farmers – not every field (or even all of every field) has to be planted to the same trait or variety (tho it probably helps with yield comparisons if they are)

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