GM Crops Shrink Farming's Pesticide Footprint
University of Melbourne Professors Richard Roush and David Tribe enumerated the benefits of modern agriculture in a commentary published in The Conversation. The professors wrote that modern agriculture reduces carbon emissions, prevents soil erosion, and minimizes environmental damage by herbicides and pesticides.
According to the article, insect pest management has been completely revolutionized by new crops with built-in insect protection. These crops include insect-protected cotton, which accounts for almost all of Australia's cotton crop; and insect-protected maize, which is widely grown globally. With this development, farmers and their families are protected from accidental poisoning because of synthetic chemical sprays. Another benefit is the elimination of these chemicals to run off into river systems, a success made when Australia's cotton growers swtiched to genetically modified (GM) cotton 15 years ago.
In Australia, GM cotton has reduced chemical spraying by 80 percent, and worldwide, it has been estimated that biotech crops have reduced pesticide spraying by 438 million kg from1996 to 2010.
The commentary can be read at http://theconversation.edu.au/genetically-modified-crops-shrink-farmings-pesticide-footprint-3004.
This article is part of the Crop Biotech Update, a weekly summary of world developments in agri-biotech for developing countries, produced by the Global Knowledge Center on Crop Biotechnology, International Service for the Aquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications SEAsiaCenter (ISAAA)