GENTECH archive


Re: US GM crop acreage archive 2300

>> Subject: US GM crop acreage not justified by its agronomic performance

Probably not an accurate subject heading. This story gives clearly
reasonable advice about any crop variety, GMO or not.

>> "Before you plant transgenic varieties, be sure you need the value-added
>> trait. Also evaluate the yields of varieties with the transgenic trait you
>> desire, and study the risk and benefit ratio, if any".-Bill McCarty,
>>Mississippi State University (NOT University of Mississippi!) extension.

This does not support a claim that there are differences of opinion between
US agronomists as to the effective agronomic performance of GM crops, only
the obvious conclusion that farmers should pick what's right for their
circumstances, and to try only a little of a any new crop variety before
adopting it on a larger scale.

In any case, contrary to other news reports, there are claims that GMOs
won't be down significantly next season.  See below.

1) New York Times, Associated Press

 	December 4, 1999


          By The Associated Press

          WASHINGTON (AP) -- Two months ago, Minnesota farmer Mark
          Ufer was ready to swear off genetically engineered crops. He
figured the growing controversy over biotech food would make it easier to sell
          conventional corn and soybeans next year.

          Now that it is time to order next year's seed, he has changed his

          ``The genetically enhanced movement is so widespread that I don't
think  a person can realistically not be a part of it,'' he said.

          Farmers have been switching in droves to genetically engineered corn
          and soybeans over the past three years. There is growing evidence
that   they plan to stick with the crops next year despite backlashes
against  biotechnology in Europe and Japan and producers' lingering worries
          about the industry's future.

          Two-thirds of the corn seed and three-quarters of the soybean
seed that farmers have ordered from Novartis Seeds Inc. for next year are
          genetically engineered, a slight increase over this time a year ago.

          Novartis is among the nation's largest seed suppliers. About 70
percent of the corn seed and half the soybean seed that Novartis expects
to sell for the 2000 crop had been ordered as of Dec. 1.

          The demand for biotech seed ``is as strong as it's been at any
time since we introduced it,'' said Jack Bernens, the company's vice
president of marketing.

          The government estimates that 57 percent of the soybeans that
farmers grew this year contains a gene that allows it to tolerate use of
the popular Roundup weed killer. Another 30 percent of the corn grown this year
 was biotech, engineered to make it toxic to the European corn
borer, a chronic problem for farmers.

          In a Nov. 22 letter to investment analysts, Monsanto Co.
acknowledged that there was more indecision than usual among farmers as to
          planting intentions for next year. But Monsanto's market research
          indicates the demand for biotech seed will be ``on par with the 1999
          season,'' the letter said....

          As it turns out, relatively few grain elevators have been
requiring farmers to separate their crops, surveys have found. The feared price
cuts for   biotech grain have not materialized, either.

          One major grain buyer, Cargill Inc., is even paying an extra 5
cents a bushel for soybeans that contain low amounts of dust and other
foreign  matter, which typically means the biotech variety, said Callanan.

          Ufer, who farms near Truman, Minn., sells much of his corn to an
ethanol cooperative, whose board voted not to accept genetically modified
crops   as of next year. The problem for the cooperative is that it sells a
          byproduct, distillers' grain, for export as livestock feed.

          The cooperative since has reversed its decision. That has eased
some of Ufer's concerns.

          But he, like other farmers, still has a variety of concerns they
are weighing  as they order seed. The genetically engineered corn, for example,
will   cost farmers money if infestations of the European corn borer are


                   2)   Reuters Story - December 03, 1999 05:28


                    TOKYO, Dec 3 (Reuters) - Genetically-modified (GM)
soybeans will account for 65 percent of total
                    soybean-planted acreage in the U.S. next year, up from
57 percent this year, a top executive of U.S.
                    seed company MBS Inc forecast on Friday.

                    MBS's Technical Director Tom Brumm said the expected
increase of Roundup Ready soybeans --
                    herbicide-resistant GM soybeans developed by Monsanto
Co of the U.S. -- is smaller than growth
                    rates in previous years, amid uncertainty over the
outlook for public acceptance of GM foods.

                    Still, given the savings farmers can reap by planting
GM soybeans, the proportion of fields planted with
                    such seeds is expected to keep expanding in the U.S.,
he said.

                    "I don't think we are going to see the rate of increase
of Roundup Ready as we have seen in the past.
                    But the economic impact of Roundup Ready on the
farmers' profits is huge," Brumm told a news
                    conference in Tokyo organised by the American Soybean
Association (ASA). "My personal opinion is
                    65 percent."

                    Gary Langel, an Iowa farmer and the vice chairman of
ASA's international marketing and trade affairs
                    committee, said his herbicide costs for growing Roundup
Ready soybeans were $8 per acre in 1999. If
                    he had used non-Roundup Ready soybeans, herbicide costs
would have been $28 per acre, he said. ....

                    Echle estimated Japan will import just 300,000 tonnes
of "identity preserved" or non-GM soybeans this
                    year, against total soybean imports of roughly 5
million tonnes.

                    "We are seeing in Japan a great growth of interests in
non-GMO food grains. But these are a small
                    percentage of the total production. And they are at a
much higher price...some premiums between 30 to
                    50 percent may have been paid," he said...