US Genetically Engineered Agriculture is Outclassed by Europe’s Non-GM Approach
The argument that the UK and the EU need GMO technology to increase production and improve its agriculture is flawed according to a new report. GM farming in the US is falling behind the UK and EU’s non-GM methods.
University of Canterbury (UC) researchers have found that the GM strategy used in North American staple crop production is limiting yields and increasing pesticide use compared to non-GM farming in Western Europe.
The team led by Professor Jack Heinemann analysed data on agricultural productivity in North America and Western Europe over the last 50 years.
Western Europe and North America are highly similar in types of crops grown, latitude, mechanisation and farmer education.
The findings have been published in the peer-reviewed International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability.
Non-GM leads the field
“We found that the combination of non-GM seed and management practices used by Western Europe is increasing corn yields faster than the use of the GM-led package chosen by the US,” said Prof. Heinemann.
The research showed rapeseed (canola) yields increasing faster in Europe without GM than in the GM-led package chosen by Canada; and is decreasing chemical herbicide and achieving even larger declines in insecticide use without sacrificing yield gains, all this whilst chemical herbicide use in the US has increased with GM seed.
Heinemann added that “Europe has learned to grow more food per hectare and use fewer chemicals in the process. The American choices in biotechnology are causing it to fall behind Europe in productivity and sustainability.”
GM hinders choice and progress
The report points out that; agriculture responds to commercial and legislative incentive systems which take the form of subsidies, intellectual property rights instruments, tax incentives, trade promotions and regulation.
It concludes that these incentive systems in North America are leading to a reliance on GM seeds and management practices that are inferior to those being adopted under the incentive systems in Europe.
This is also affecting non GM crops
US yield in non-GM wheat is falling further behind Europe, “demonstrating that American choices in biotechnology penalise both GM and non-GM crop types relative to Europe” according to Prof Heinemann.
“The decrease in annual variation in yield suggests that Europe has a superior combination of seed and crop management technology and is better suited to withstand weather variations. This is important because annual variations cause price speculations that can drive hundreds of millions of people into food poverty.”
Away from GM, towards diversity, resilience and productivity
Some frightening statistics are covered in the report, not just about GM, but of the general move toward depleted genetic diversity and the consequently potential catastrophic risk to staple food crops.
For example, according to FAO figures; ‘China, of the nearly 10,000 wheat varieties in use in 1949, only 1,000 remained in the 1970s . . . In the United States, 95 per cent of the cabbage, 91 per cent of the field maize, 94 per cent of the pea, and 81 per cent of the tomato varieties cultivated in the last century have been lost’.
GM and the control of seeds through patents, restricting farmer choice and preventing seed saving have exacerbated this problem.
Professor Heinemann, who was a lead author of the International Assessment of Agriculture Knowledge Science and Technology (IAASTD), concludes:
“We need more than agriculture; we need agricultures – a diversity of practices for growing and making food that GM does not support; we need systems that are useful, not just profit-making biotechnologies – we need systems that provide a resilient supply to feed the world well.”
Jack A. Heinemann , Melanie Massaro , Dorien S. Coray , Sarah Zanon Agapito-Tenfen & Jiajun Dale Wen (2013): Sustainability and innovation in staple crop production in the US Midwest, International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability, DOI:10.1080/14735903.2013.806408
Genetically-modified Rice Trials in U.S. Contaminate World’s Rice Supply
by Ethan A. Huff, source
New evidence has emerged suggesting that the entire global supply of rice may have already been contaminated by unapproved, genetically-modified (GM) rice varieties manufactured by the American multinational corporation Bayer CropScience. A recent entry in the GM Contamination Register explains that between the years of 2006 and 2007, three different varieties of illegal GM rice, none of which have ever been approved for cultivation or consumption anywhere in the world, were identified in more than 30 countries worldwide.
Once again, field trials conducted by Bayer back in the mid-1990s appear to have been the cause of this widespread and irreversible genetic pollution. Though all official field trials of “Frankenrice” supposedly ended in 2002, the three GM rice varieties detected somehow made their way into the general rice supply, which has had a major negative impact on U.S. rice exports. Similar contamination involving both GM wheat and GM flax was also recently discovered in the food supply, and both a result of biotechnology company field trials.
“No GM rice has ever been grown commercially in the U.S. and the source of the contamination is believed to be field trials of herbicide tolerant rice conducted between the mid-1990s and early-2000s by Bayer CropScience (or its precursor companies Aventis CropScience and AgrEvo),” explains the GM Contamination Register entry. “At the time of discovery only one of the contaminating varieties (LLRICE62) had approval for cultivation in the U.S., the other two varieties (LLRICE601 and LLRICE604) had not.”
A U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) investigation into the matter was unable to verify whether or not contamination was the result of cross-pollination, also known as gene flow, or mechanical mixing. But in either case, vagrant GM rice planted in open fields for “testing” purposes definitely escaped, and now American rice farmers are suffering the consequences as the European Union (EU), Japan, South Korea, the Philippines and others have placed strict limitations on GM rice imports. Both Russia and Bulgaria, on the other hand, have completely banned all rice imports from the U.S.
“The contamination episode has also affected seed producers,” adds the report, which is buried deep within the annals of the consumer watchdog group’s website, completely untouched by the mainstream media. “[A]n entire non-GM rice variety Clearfield 131 was banned by U.S. regulators in early 2007 when it was found to be contaminated, costing producer BASF billions of dollars in losses.”
American agriculture, the pale horse of the coming food apocalypse
So as the four horsemen of the apocalypse come galloping in on the world scene in the very near future, you can be sure that the pale horse, which symbolizes famine, was born and bred in the U.S. Yes, the world’s most aggressive and malicious purveyor of GMOs and all the horrors that come with their consumption will be the primary driving force behind the complete destruction of the global food supply via the Trojan Horse that is GMOs.
“Scientific studies confirm that GM contamination is unavoidable once GM crops are grown in a region,” explains the Earth Open Source report GMO Myths and Truths: An evidence-based examination of the claims made for the safety and efficacy of genetically modified crops. “‘Coexistence’ rapidly results in widespread contamination of non-GM crops … through cross-pollination, spread of GM seed by farm machinery, and inadvertent mixing during storage.”
Be sure to check out the complete Earth Open Source report on GMOs here:
Sources for this article include: