July 7, 2008


Study finds GM-corn in Spain lowers pesticide use


A study by the European Commission has found that farmers growing GM corn use less than half the pesticide used by farmers growing conventional corn.


GM crops which have built-in resistance against the corn borer also guarantees a better harvest if the plague hits the crop.


Farmers that grow GM-cron sprayed only 0.32 times per year while farmers growing conventional corn on average sprayed 0.86 times pesticides, said a researcher during a biotech conference in Como, Italy.


Spain has been cultivating GM-corn on a commercial basis since 1998 and is the largest grower of GM-corn in Europe. In 2007 more than 75,000 hectares were grown. Seventy percent of the GM-corn growers do not use pesticides against the corn borer, while only 42 percent of growers of conventional corn do not use pesticides.


Better pest control in affected areas led to higher yields. In the Zaragoza area yield per hectare of GM-corn on average was 12 percent higher than yields form conventional corn fields.


This meant a EUR122 per hectare extra gain for GM-corn farmers which would more than offset the extra cost of GM-seeds.


Zaragoza was strongest affected by the corn borer. In other areas yields did not differ that much between GM and non-GM corn.


Current plans by the Spanish government to segregate GM acres from non-GM to a higher degree may mean more costs to producers.

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