Here's some more on the GM soya study, including a press release and a url for the study itself.
We've also heard some disturbing allegations, from Wytze de Lang in the Netherlands, concerning this report and its authors.
According to Wytze:
The lead researcher, Piet Schenkelaars, apparently previously worked for Monsanto's PR office in the Netherlands before starting his own consultancy: Schenkelaars Biotechnology Consultancy.
The Centre for Ag and Env.(CLM) are supposed to promote IPM yet are already including GE in IPM - premature to say the least!
CLM did a study in 1996 for Monsanto. The conclusion than was that on the short run RR soy could have advantages but for the long run it was not certain. A Greenpeace campaigner of that time said about that study: "Whose bread one eats, whose word one speaks".
The current study from the Centre for Agriculture and Environment and Piet Schenkelaars is based on USDA/Monsanto data from 1998. It is old news from unreliable sources. Apart from the environmental groups, the study was commissioned by the Producerboard Margarines, Fats and Oils which is one of Monsanto's closest allies in the Netherlands and heavily co-responsible for the unsegregated introduction of RR soy into Holland.
You can download this report as Acrobat PDF document. Download the Agronomic and environmental impacts of the commercial cultivation of glyphosate tolerant soybean in the USA report (144 kB) at http://www.clm.nl/pdf/496.pdf.
Modest reduction in chemical use with GT-soya
12th June 2001
Cultivation of genetically modified, glyphosate-tolerant (GT) soya in the US results in a modest reduction of the use of chemical pesticides. The quantity of this reduction is calculated between 0 and 10%. The environmental burden of the herbicide glyphosate, which is used in the cultivation of GT-soya for weed control, is lower than that of herbicides used in the current soya-cultivation.
These are the results of a review of relevant literature performed by the Centre for Agriculture and Environment and Schenkelaars Biotechnology Consultancy, the Netherlands. This research was carried out on behalf of three Dutch Product Boards (the Product Board of Margarine, Fats and Oils, the Product Board of Grains, Seeds and Pulses and the Product Board for Animal Feed).
Until now, there was lack of clarity about the effects of GT-soya on agricultural and environmental issues. During the introduction of GT-soya for commercial cultivation, it was assumed that the use of chemical pesticides should decrease by 30%. The study shows that this expectation is only partly realised.
In the present study, a large amount of reports on field data about the effect of GT-soya cultivation in practice in the USA between 1996 and 1998 were analysed. The results (varying between +7 to - 40% change in herbicide use) were compared and assessed on scientific reliability. These findings indicate a modest reduction in the use.
According to the researchers, the harvest of GT-soya is comparable to non-modified soya. In field studies performed by universities, the harvest of GT-soya is lower compared to the harvest of top varieties of non-modified soya. In practice, this is compensated by the fact that GT-soya is cultivated by the 'more sophisticated' farmers and that the weed management is less complicated.
Nowadays more than half of the US soya-area is GT-soya. The reason for this popularity is the comfortable and the flexible way weeds can be controlled for.
In the present study, also other effects of GT-soya on the environment have been reviewed. However, due to limited data, no conclusions could be derived yet about the impact of GT-soya on use of energy during cultivation, the biodiversity en the degree of resistance to the herbicide.
The research is carried out in collaboration with Dutch governmental and non-governmental organisations such as Greenpeace Netherlands, Foundation Nature and Environment, Friends of the Earth Netherlands, Consumer and Biotechnology Foundation, Dutch Biotechnology Industry Association, the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Fishery and the Product Boards. The conclusions of this study are the responsibility of the Centre for Agriculture and Environment and Schenkelaars Biotechnology Consultancy.