Cheaper seed and lucrative premiums are driving more US crop producers to plant non-genetically modified soybeans this year.
US soybean production is 95 percent dominated by genetically modified Round Up Ready soybeans. However a small percentage of that crop -- perhaps 5 percent -- will be planted to non-GM soybeans, and the trend toward the latter is expected to continue in the near future, said Jim Beuerlein, an Ohio State University Extension agronomist.
"Round Up Ready soybean seed is becoming expensive and there are a number of markets, both stateside and internationally, that want non-GM varieties and they are willing to pay the premiums for it," said Beuerlein.
Beuerlein anticipates Ohio growers to increase their non-GM soybean acreage by about 10 percent. But with 4.5 million acres of soybeans planted in Ohio each year, the increase is not earth shattering. The reason, said Beuerlein, is because there simply isn't enough seed to go around to meet demand.
Ohio growers can refer to the 2008 Ohio Soybean Performance Trials for non-GM and Round Up Ready soybean varieties most suitable for their growing environment. The report can be found at oardc.osu.edu/soy2008/. The number of non-GM varieties tested is expected to increase for the 2009 trials.
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