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BUSINESS & SEEDS: Australia’s biggest GM canola crop (13,000 ha) harvested



                                  PART 1


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TITLE:   AUSTRALIA?S BIGGEST GM CANOLA CROP IN BODALLIN

SOURCE:  Merredin Mercury, Australia

AUTHOR:  

URL:     http://www.merredinmercury.com.au/news/local/news/general/australias-biggest-gm-canola-crop-in-bodallin/2059504.aspx

DATE:    27.01.2011

SUMMARY: "THE country?s biggest genetically modified (GM) canola crop was harvested in Bodallin, in the eastern Wheatbelt, this summer. Farm entrepreneur and machinery man Michael Shields and his team have broken canola coverage records with 8500 hectares planted at Bodallin and 4500 hectares on their home block Glenvar at Wongan Hills. This is the first time WA farmers were allowed to grow GM canola since it was legalised in February last year."

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AUSTRALIA?S BIGGEST GM CANOLA CROP IN BODALLIN

THE country?s biggest genetically modified (GM) canola crop was harvested in Bodallin, in the eastern Wheatbelt, this summer.

Farm entrepreneur and machinery man Michael Shields and his team have broken canola coverage records with 8500 hectares planted at Bodallin and 4500 hectares on their home block Glenvar at Wongan Hills.

This is the first time WA farmers were allowed to grow GM canola since it was legalised in February last year.

Harvesting 13,000 hectares of time-critical and damage-prone GM canola was a countdown challenge for man and machine.

Farm manager Lee Norman said the last of the massive crop program was sown in June last year and, despite the late planting and low rainfall, germination was sound and the crop matured well.

The GM crop yielded about one tonne per hectare, an acceptable result given the region received only half of its usual rainfall.

The Shields used two CLAAS Lexion 750s with 12m Vario cutterbar fronts to harvest the canola.



                                  PART 2

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TITLE:   US EXPERT SAYS GM THE WAY FORWARD

SOURCE:  Stock & Land, Australia

AUTHOR:  

URL:     http://sl.farmonline.com.au/news/state/agribusiness-and-general/general/us-expert-says-gm-the-way-forward/2059005.aspx

DATE:    27.01.2011

SUMMARY: "NORTH and South American farmers are increasingly ?welcoming? genetically-modified technology as part of the next wave of agricultural innovation and Australian farmers should know about it, according to US agricultural economist, Dr William Wilson. The North Dakota State University professor of agribusiness and applied economics said American farmers were making use of GM technologies to keep ahead of the cost-price squeeze. [...] ?But, we also have droughts, floods, pestilence, activists, consumers and governments to deal with.?"

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US EXPERT SAYS GM THE WAY FORWARD

NORTH and South American farmers are increasingly ?welcoming? genetically-modified technology as part of the next wave of agricultural innovation and Australian farmers should know about it, according to US agricultural economist, Dr William Wilson.

The North Dakota State University professor of agribusiness and applied economics said American farmers were making use of GM technologies to keep ahead of the cost-price squeeze.

?Yes, we have large areas of good soils in climates that allow us to grow a wide range of broadacre crops,? he said.

?But, we also have droughts, floods, pestilence, activists, consumers and governments to deal with.?

Professor Wilson said American farmers were using multiple varieties of GM cotton, corn, soybeans and canola to ward off insects and provide alternative weed controls.

?New varieties with ?stacked traits? - where all these benefits are available in one variety - are being commercialised by the research and development people,? he said.

?This is real agricultural innovation. Simply, GM varieties accelerate farm output and financial return for least risk.?

The area planted to GM varieties carrying traits for herbicide tolerance and insect resistance has increased dramatically in the United States since the early 1990s.

Professor Wilson said wheat areas in the US were declining as the returns for corn and soybeans increased.

?Even Kansas - the ?wheat state? - now produces more corn than wheat, and North Dakota wheat farmers are switching to GM soybean, corn and canola,? he said.

?Where innovation is not adopted, farm businesses stall and go backwards, irrespective of how much government assistance is provided.?

Professor Wilson said there was hard economic data on the costs of not having access to GM technology.

?I have calculated that a drought-tolerance trait in corn and/or soybeans (available in about six years) will result in an A$22/tonne opportunity cost for wheat production on the same land,? he said.

?That is, the market will need to pay another A$22/t for wheat to match the returns from corn or soy with this trait.

?New traits, such as second-generation HT (herbicide tolerant) GM soybeans, will push the opportunity cost out to near A$55/t.?

Professor Wilson said the value being placed on the role of GM technology was evident by the level of investment private enterprise had made.

?From 1990 to 2009, major companies have collectively spent US$45 billion on crop protection research and development, with each allocating significant sums to GM work,? he said.

?Clearly, this scale of investment wouldn?t occur if the benefits of GM varieties didn?t exceed their research and development costs, and if farmers didn?t choose to use GM varieties.?

At the other end of the supply chain, Professor Wilson said US customers were comfortable with GM technology.

A recent International Food Industry Centre report found 95 per cent of consumers would not take any actions because of concerns they might have about food produced using biotechnology, and among the remaining 5pc who would take action, only half would alter their purchasing behaviour.

Between 70 and 80pc of food products in the US contain biotech ingredients.



                                  PART 3

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TITLE:   GM TRIAL SHOULD NOT BE INTERRUPTED: MURRAY

SOURCE:  Farm Weekly, Australia

AUTHOR:  Colin Bettles

URL:     http://fw.farmonline.com.au/news/state/grains-and-cropping/general/gm-trial-should-not-be-interrupted-murray/2049230.aspx

DATE:    17.01.2011

SUMMARY: "SHADOW WA Agriculture Minister Mick Murray said Dr Judy Carman?s scientific trial into Genetically Modified crops should not be interrupted for any political gain. Mr Murray said any interruption could compromise genuine scientific results, for political and commercial concerns. [...] ?Lets? not rush it; if she needs more time to get a result, not a result for political or dollar terms, then so be it,? he said."

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GM TRIAL SHOULD NOT BE INTERRUPTED: MURRAY

SHADOW WA Agriculture Minister Mick Murray said Dr Judy Carman?s scientific trial into Genetically Modified crops should not be interrupted for any political gain.

Mr Murray said any interruption could compromise genuine scientific results, for political and commercial concerns.

He said if the trial needed extra time to run its full course, then within reason he accepted that.

Mr Murray said he had no issue with Agriculture Minister Terry Redman?s attempts to follow up with Dr Carman to find out how the $92,000 was being spent and stopped short of saying the Minister had unfairly attacked Dr Carman in seeking some form of accountability, as claimed by some critics.

?There?s certainly no problem in doing a follow up but to expect a result, if that?s what he was expecting, is irresponsible,? he said.

?He certainly has the right to ask where the trial is up to at this stage but not to interfere with it.?

Mr Murray said the trial work should be allowed to continue for an extended period of time but not indefinitely.

?Lets? not rush it; if she needs more time to get a result, not a result for political or dollar terms, then so be it,? he said.

Mr Murray said he had not seen any formal correspondence on the trial or made any contact with Dr Carman.

?Early in the peace one of her reasons that she was a bit slow in getting off the mark was her inability to source GM products for starting the trial,? he said.

?That in itself was a bit of a worry for me.

?If people are not forthcoming with their product it certainly lifts an eyebrow.?

Mr Murray said, either way, he hoped the trial?s end results would provide some kind of conclusion or ?definition? to the health safety aspects of GMs.

?The jury is out in many, many respects,? he said.

?I have been more than surprised at the response because generally an issue like this happens and people have their say then it goes to sleep for a while.

?But this is one that issue certainly hasn?t gone to sleep and I get emails on a regular basis, from all walks of life, expressing their views.?