News last update:7 Aug 2012

GM-corn in Spain lowers pesticide use

In the Spain the cultivation of GM-corn lowers the use of pesticides, according to a study of the European commission. The built-in resistance against the corn borer also guarantees a better harvest if the plague hits the crop.

Farmers that grow GM-cron sprayed only 0.32 times per year while farmers growing conventional corn on average sprayed 0.86 times pesticides, said a researcher during a biotech conference in Como, Italy.

Largest GM grower
Spain is cultivating GM-corn on a commercial basis since 1998 and is the largest grower of GM-corn in Europe. In 2007 more than 75,000 hectares were grown. Seventy percent of the GM-corn growers do not use pesticides against the corn borer, while on 42% of growers of conventional corn refrained from using pesticides.

€122 extra gain/ha
Better pest control in affected areas led to higher yields. In the Zaragoza area yield per hectare of GM-corn on average was 12% higher than yields form conventional corn fields. In money this is a €122 per hectare extra gain for GM-corn farmers. This more than compensates the extra cost of the GM-seeds. Zaragoza was strongest affected by the corn borer. In other areas yields did not differ that much between GM and non-GM corn.

GM-corn in Spain is used for animal feed. Sale induces hardly any opposition. Farmers received a regular price for their corn.In future profit form GM-corn could be devaluated by governmental policies to strictly divide GM and non-GM corn. These costs will probably be funnelled towards producers and processors of GM raw materials.

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