GM canola a flop
2.GM canola trials come a cropper
EXTRACT: "It looks like the farmer pays 15% more [for the GM crop] but gets 17% less which is a big loss of 32% of the value of the crop."
"Agronomically and economically, GM canola has been proven to be a flop." - farmer Julie Newman
1.GM CANOLA A FLOP
Network of Concerned Farmers: Press Release, 16 January 2009
Today the GRDC announced the results of the first independent trials of GM canola which revealed that GM canola yielded 17% lower than both Non-GM herbicide tolerant canola varieties. While it sent shock-waves amongst farmers expecting higher yields with GM crops, the Network of Concerned Farmers (NCF) expected this result.
"This is clear evidence that GM canola is not what it is promoted as," said Julie Newman, NCF National Spokesperson for the Network of Concerned Farmers. "We hope farmers will now realise that they have been misled to believe GM canola should yield more when there is no logical reason why it should."
The GRDC National Variety Trials showed Roundup Ready GM canola yielding 0.7t/ha while non-GM Triazine Tolerant and Cleafield canola yielded 0.8t/ha. The trials compared non-GM herbicide tolerant varieties with GM Roundup Ready canola which has a single genetically modified trait conferred to the plant allowing the plant to be sprayed with glyphosate between the 2 leaf to the 6 leaf stage.
"GM canola is only a limited weed control tool of a non-residual herbicide tolerant canola which is not as effective as what we already have. Interestingly, the GM farmers in NSW and Victoria have reported the key advantage as grass control which has nothing to do with the GM part because it is achieved by the recommended residual chemical Trifluralin when planting."
The 2008 costs involve a half price stewardship fee of $500/farm, a discounted $10.20/tonne EPR-style royalty and an extra $43.50/ha for seed.
"Even at these low yields, the GM fees for 500 ha would amount to an additional $25,820 which would require an additional yield increase of 15% to pay for itself. It looks like the farmer pays 15% more but gets 17% less which is a big loss of 32% of the value of the crop."
"Agronomically and economically, GM canola has been proven to be a flop."
Contact: Julie Newman Phone 08 98711562 or mobile 0427 711644
[This press release was issued in response to the W.A. and Victorian ABC Country Hour report, 16 Jan 09]
2.GM canola trials come a cropper
by Heather Bennett
WA Business News, 16 Jan 2009
Genetically modified canola crops in Victoria have performed no better than their non-genetically modified counterparts as Western Australia prepares to hold trials later this year.
Results from Grains Research and Development Council showed the yields, from the first independent trial crops in Horsham and Forbes in Victoria, were 0.7 tonne per hectare for GM and 0.8t/ha ha for non-GM.
The results are not good news for those wanting to farm GM canola, as to break even with the technology, profits must increase by up to 16 per cent.
The first GM canola trials in Western Australia are due to be held this year, after Agriculture Minister Terry Redman lifted the moratorium on December 23, in what critics say was a cynical move.
Supporters of GM canola have consistently argued that the crop is more weed resistant and produces significantly better yields.
Those against it are rejoicing the results as confirmation that the claims are unsubstantiated.
"This is clear evidence that GM canola is not what it is promoted as," said Network of Concerned Farmers national spokesperson Julie Newman.
"We hope farmers will now realize that they have been misled to believe GM canola should yield more when there is no logical reason why it should."
Canola Breeders Western Australia research director and executive officer Associate Professor Wallace Cowling said the GM strain was developed for weed resistance, not yield, but he suggested future crops may achieve more impressive yield results.
"It's not about yield, it's about herbicide tolerance. It's weed control farmers are worried about," he said.
"It's going to be scrutinised for yield over the next few years. Yield of the first varieties isn't expected to be great, but it's early days," he said.