[Canadian] farmers started growing GM canola in 1997. By 2004, 75% of canola farmers in Canada were growing GM varieties. After a decade of GM canola production I surveyed farmers and found the following:
- canola farmers’ income increased by $350-400 million a year;
- the environmental impact of the chemicals applied to canola dropped by 53% when compared to the chemicals that were previously used on canola;
- the volume of chemicals applied to canola dropped by 3 million kg per year; and
- 1 million tonnes of carbon were either sequestered by the soil or no longer released from implement passes.
Australia approved GM canola in 2003. However, by 2004 a moratorium was implemented across Australia against growing GM canola. It wasn’t until 2008 when the central canola producing states, New South Wales and Victoria, lifted the moratorium, followed by Western Australia in 2010.
Recently one of my graduate students, Scott Biden, examined the economic and environmental costs of the Australian moratoriums. This study estimates what the adoption level for GM canola could have been after one decade of production, 2004-2014, had the moratorium not been implemented. The adoption delay of GM canola production has cumulatively resulted in:
- the application of an additional 6.5 million kg of chemicals;
- 7 million additional field passes were made, requiring 8.7 million litres of diesel;
- 24 million kg of greenhouse gases were released;
- the environmental impact of the additional chemicals applied was 14% higher; and
- Australian farmers lost the opportunity to increase their farm revenues by $485 million
The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: The Cost of Australia’s GM Canola Moratorium