1.Off to Canada
2.Zero-till farmers air Roundup Ready concerns


This article (ITEM 1) is yet another that has clearly been got up by the GM lobby in Germany as a means of attacking Germany's Consumer Protection Minister, Renate Kunast, because of her willingness to defend consumers and conventional and organic growers.

But the argument it presents is complete nonsense. The boss of the German company which coordinates the world's largest GM rapeseed research programme complains, "We currently do not breed transgenic varieties in Germany. After the alterations in the Genetic Engineering Act, which came into effect in February, we won't do any outdoor tests in Germany."

This we are told is a complete disaster because, the article says, much of the research and development from Germany "will go at a loss. Germany's loss is Canada's gain. Canada is the world's leading rapeseed producer and has positioned itself to profit nicely from the research and development that Germany started."

Oh, really? Is that why we heard only yesterday about the anxiety amongst Canada's oilseed rape(Canola) growers that they may lose the principal market for their rapeseed because of the contamination GM rape has caused in Japan, which takes half Canada's exports? (Japanese rethinking GM canola)

The contamination from GM oilseed rape in Canada itself is at such horrific levels that organic growers have had to abandon growing the crop. And the problems for conventional farmers, like Percy Schmeiser, are known world wide. (SEE ALSO ITEM 2)

Renate Kunast has pointed out that in financial terms and as an employer the organic sector is worth many times more to germany than the biotech sector. What possible sense does it make to damage that sector and conventional farming just to keep the biotech industry happy?

Meanwhile Canada's game of agricultural Russian roulette will soon be played out. Even after Monsanto abandoned GM wheat, the Canadian government carried on with GM wheat trials risking contamination of another major crop.

And Canadian professor emeritus Joe Cummin points out that in addition to the problem of contamination by conventional GM oilseed rape, there has also been excessive GM pharmaceutical crop testing in western Canada which he says will have had an impact on conventional Canadian oilseed rape.

They have, for instance, been field testing GM oilseed rape modified with a gene for the anticoagulant hirudin. "Because canola [OSR] is sexually promiscuous it is likely that the hirudin gene has been fixed in the canola seed distribution."

The article below is headlined "Off to Canada". Anyone in their right mind will be hoping that this particular emigrant never comes back!

1.Off to Canada
By Inge Klöpfer
Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, June 14, 2005
Translated by Rupert Schutz, Checkbiotech
[url at end]

Renate Kunast expels green biotechnology - the world's largest research program for rapeseed has no future in Germany.

In the field of green biotechnology [read: genetically engineered crops], Germany's Consumer Protection Minister, Renate Kunast, has a formidable reputation - at least with German plant breeders. With her legislation regarding the reorganization of the Genetic Engineering Act, she is accused of driving an entire industry out of the country and essentially bringing German research to a standstill. This despite Germany being a world leader in this emerging business.

The way that Renate Kunast uses the newly reorganized Genetic Engineering Act, which went into effect in February 2005, to block plant research and breeding can be seen particularly well with an example from research on rapeseed.

The project with the sonorous name "Napus 2000" is a world-renowned research program for rapeseed, where fatty acid patterns in the rapeseed are changed in such a way that they contain the same nutritional value as fish oil.

In addition, the scientists have succeeded in isolating the gene responsible for the production of the important fatty acid, Resveratrol, from red wine and to introduce it into the rapeseed. This project was sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

"Napus 2000" held by the mid-sized-business entrepreneur Dietmar Brauer. Brauer's company, "Norddeutsche Pflanzenzucht Hans Georg Lembke KG", generates an annual revenue that ranges between 50 to 100 million euros, employs 143 people and co-ordinates this world's largest rapeseed research program. Twenty partners from industry (including BASF and Unilever) and academia have been working on it for many years and have contributed about half of the 21 million euros used to finance the project. However, the genetically modified rapeseed which was developed, now has no chance in Germany.

Brauer said, "We currently do not breed transgenic varieties in Germany." The reasons behind this are found in the reorganized Genetic Engineering Act. The genetically modified material developed by the researchers must now to be tested in the field.

"After the alterations in the Genetic Engineering Act, which came into effect in February, we won't do any outdoor tests in Germany," Brauer says.

First of all, it is a matter of liability. According to the new Act, should pollen of the genetically modified rapeseed be blown onto other fields and leave traces in the plants cultivated there, the breeder would be liable for the resulting damages to the neighbor's crop, regardless of whether he really has caused them.

"Losses would still be manageable for us," states Brauer, "But under such conditions there is no possibility to ever go forward with practical cultivation."

In the end, much of the research and developments from Germany will go at a loss. Germany's loss is Canada's gain. Canada is the world's leading rapeseed producer and has positioned itself to profit nicely from the research and development that Germany started.

2.Zero-till farmers air Roundup Ready concerns
By Ian Bell, Brandon bureau [shortened]
Western Producer, Friday Dec 7

In Chris Dzisiak's opinion, one year of gain from growing a herbicide-tolerant canola translates into three years of pain.

Dzisiak, a zero till farmer from Dauphin, Man., planted Roundup Ready canola in 1999.

He wanted a crop where he could use less herbicide while still getting good weed control without the need for tillage.

Dzisiak may have gotten what he wanted in 1999. What he didn't bargain for were some of the problems he has encountered since.

In 2000, volunteer canola appeared in the 156 acre field where Roundup Ready canola had been planted the year before.

The field was planted to wheat in 2000. Dzisiak controlled the volunteers with 2,4-D. But he said his problems with the volunteer canola became more acute this year when he planted the same field to flax.

A preseed burnoff failed to control the herbicide-tolerant plants.

That prompted Dzisiak to apply a Buctril M/Select mix to the flax crop soon after it had emerged. The Buctril M was applied at full rate.

Dzisiak killed the volunteer canola, but his flax crop suffered because of the high rate of herbicide, he told a gathering of minimum and zero till farmers in Brandon last week.

The stunted flax grew slowly over the next two weeks, allowing wild oats and volunteer wheat to flourish. The result, according to Dzisiak, was a yield loss of three bushels an acre in his flax crop.

He estimates he lost $4,500 this year because of the yield loss, the extra herbicide costs to control the volunteer canola, and the excess dockage in his flax due to the wheat volunteers and wild oats.

He expects problems with the herbicide-tolerant canola again next year when he plants peas on the field.

Dzisiak doubts he will ever grow a Roundup Ready crop again because the problems outweighed the benefits.

"I certainly didn't save myself any money and I certainly didn't save myself any time."

A concern about herbicide-tolerant canola volunteers was prevalent throughout the one-day meeting. Roundup Ready canola is a product of Monsanto.