Crop Biotech Update

Australia's OGTR Approves Field Trials of GM Cotton

January 25, 2017

Australia's Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR) has issued a license to Monsanto Australia Limited, allowing the limited and controlled release (field trial) of cotton genetically modified (GM) for insect resistance and herbicide tolerance.

The field trial will be conducted from March 2017 to July 2021 in cotton growing areas in New South Wales, Queensland, Northern Territory, Victoria, and Western Australia. The proposal is to plant up to 50 sites per year with a maximum combined area of 50 hectares in 2017, 100 hectares in 2018, and 250 hectares/year in 2019 and 2020. The maximum planting size of individual trial sites is proposed to be 2 hectares in 2017, 10 hectares in 2018, and 50 hectares/year in 2019 and 2020. The GM cotton would not be used in human food or animal feed.

The final Risk Assessment and Risk Management Plan (RARMP) concludes that this limited and controlled release poses negligible risks to people and the environment and does not require specific risk treatment measures.

The finalized RARMP, together with a summary of the RARMP, a set of Questions and Answers on this decision and a copy of the license, are available online from the DIR 147 page in the OGTR website.