Crop Biotech Update

New Study Reveals Eliminating GMOs would Take Toll on Environment, Economies

March 2, 2016

What happens if genetically modified (GM) crops were banned from US farm fields?

A Purdue University study conducted by Wally Tyner, James and Lois Ackerman Professor of Agricultural Economics; Farzad Taheripour, research associate professor of agricultural economics; and Harry Mahaffey, agricultural economics graduate student, presented the significant crop yield loss and other economic effects of banning GM crops in the US.

The economists gathered data and found that 18 million farmers in 28 countries planted about 181 million hectares of GM crops in 2014, with about 40 percent of that in the US. They fed the data into the Purdue developed GTAPBIO model, to examine economic consequences of changes to agricultural, energy, trade and environmental policies.

The model showed that if all genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the US will be eliminated, corn yield declines at 11.2 percent on average, soybeans lose 5.2 percent of their yields, and cotton at 18.6 percent. Around 102,000 hectares of US forest and pasture would have to be converted to cropland and 1.1 million hectares globally for the average case. Greenhouse gas emissions will increase significantly as more land is needed for agricultural production, and commodity prices will rise at 1-2 percent or $14 billion to $24 billion per year. With lower crop yields without GMOs, corn prices would increase as much as 28 percent and soybeans as much as 22 percent, according to the study.

For more details about this study, read the news release at the Purdue University Agricultural News.