2011 Autumn - Can agriculture manage a genetically modified future

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Farm Policy Journal - Vol 8 No 1 2011 Autumn - Full Journal

Can agriculture manage a genetically modified future?
Autumn quarter 2011, Volume 8, Number 1
Publisher - Australian Farm Institute
ISSN 1449-8812


Biotechnology, GM, GMO, Genetically modified agriculture, Australia

$60.50


FPJ0801 - Kingwell, Farmers' use of genetically modified crops, trends and issues for Australia

Between 1996 and 2009 there has been an approximately 80-fold increase in the global area sown to genetically modified (GM) crops. In 25 countries about 14 million farmers now grow GM crops. Although a majority of the farmer population grow crops with an insect resistance trait, the more important trait affecting a larger global crop area is herbicide tolerance. As China and India embrace GM crop technology the area sown to GM crops worldwide will increase substantially. GM crops with multiple (or stacked) traits are becoming increasingly common and are now grown in 11 countries.
Aside from GM cotton, Australian farmers’ use of GM crops has been limited, although work is now underway on a range of GM traits in major crops. Public attitudes against GM crops in Australia appear to have softened and Australia’s slowness to embrace GM crops has not strongly disadvantaged it.
Two key issues surround the likely greater use of GM crops in Australia. The first is the threat of misuse of herbicide-tolerant crops that could cause the development of herbicide-resistant weeds. The second issue involves the future industrial organisation of plant variety provision in Australia. If multinational biotechnology firms enter and dominate the Australian marketplace then competition regulators will need to ensure that the pricing and other commercial behaviour of these firms complies with competition principles, otherwise Australian farmers could be disadvantaged.
Kingwell, R - Farmers' use of genetically modified crops: trends and issues for Australia
Farm Policy Journal Autumn 2011, Volume 8, Number 1, pp. 1-9

 

Biotechnology, GM, GMO, Genetically modified agriculture, Australia

$12.10


FPJ0801 - Rimmer M, Owning Omega-3 - Monsanto and the invention of meat

 In August of 2010, Anna Salleh of the Science Unit of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation broke a story about Monsanto seeking to patent the enhancement of meat, including omega-3 fatty acids: Enhanced pork is sparking debate over the ethics of placing patents on food. Patent applications covering the enhancement of meat, including pork with omega-3 fatty acids, are stimulating debate over the ethics and legalities of claiming intellectual property over food. Monsanto has filed patents that cover the feeding of animals soybeans, which have been genetically modified by the company to contain stearidonic acid (SDA), a plant-derived omega-3 fatty acid... Omega-3s have been linked to improved cardiovascular health and there are many companies engineering them into foodstuffs. But the new patent applications have touched a raw nerve among those who see them as an attempt by the company to exert control over the food chain. (Salleh 2010) This article provides a critical evaluation of the controversy of Monsanto’s patent applications, and the larger issues over patenting food. It first considers the patent portfolio of Monsanto; the nature of the patent claims; and the examination of the claims by patent examiners. Second, it examines the withdrawal and revision of the patent claims by Monsanto in the wake of criticism by patent authorities and the public disquiet over the controversial application. Third, this article considers the larger policy issues raised by Monsanto’s patent applications – including the patenting of plants, animals and foodstuffs. There is also a consideration of the impact of patents upon the administration of healthcare, competition and research. Rimmer, M - Owning Omega-3: Monsanto and the invention of meat
Farm Policy Journal Autumn 2011, Volume 8, Number 1, pp. 11-21

Biotechnology, GM, GMO, Genetically modified agriculture, Australia

 

$12.10


FPJ0801 - Constable et al, An industry transformed- the impact of GM technology on Australian cotton production

Transgenicor genetically modified (GM)cotton has been gradually released and adopted by Australian cotton growers since 1996, and now dominates domestic production. The cotton plant traits made accessible to farmers through GM technology have firstly been resistance to the main insect pest, Helicoverpa spp, and resistance to the herbicide glyphosate. The availability of these traits in GM cotton cultivars has addressed two of the main cotton pest and weed production challenges, the control of which was earlier pushing the industry towards unsustainable levels of dependence on chemical pesticides. Research in the five years prior to 1996 provided an understanding of regulatory issues that needed to be resolved before commercial GM cotton release, formulated resistance management strategies to ensure the longevity of the traits and bred locally adapted cultivars with the GM traits to ensure agronomic performance was maintained. The Australian system for regulating GM products also evolved through that time from the more peer-review basis of the Genetic Manipulation Advisory Committee to the fully legislated Office of the Gene Technology Regulator. To address issues of concern for the regulatory system: 1. successful containment of the GM traits was demonstrated during early field research 2. absence of any significant non-target effects to health and the environment were confirmed 3. successful resistance management plans were developed that are now part of the formal licence conditions for farmers using these technologies. The first generation GM cotton trait (Ingard) incorporated a gene imparting insect control and resulted in insecticide applications being reduced by 45% over the seven years it was used, but in order to manage potential resistance in the target pests its cultivation was limited to 30% of the total area on individual farms, so whole of industry impacts were not large. The second generation GM insect control trait (Bollgard II) was allowed to be grown more widely (over 90% of plantings in 2010) and has reduced insecticide applications by up to 80% across the entire industry. Two versions of a GM trait conferring resistance to the herbicide glyphosate have been released and the latest product (Roundup Ready Flex) allows a weed control system where glyphosate replaces prophylactic residual herbicides. With improved cultivars containing these traits and carefully thought out science-based management systems for insect and weed control the cotton industry has shifted to almost complete adoption of GM cotton cultivars (98.5% in 2010). This has allowed the Australian cotton industry to continue to improve yield and productivity while also significantly reducing pesticide usage and transformed it into a very different industry from what it was just a decade ago.

Constable G, Llewellyn D, Wilson L, Stiller W - An industry transformed: the impact of GM technology on Australian cotton production
Farm Policy Journal Autumn 2011, Volume 8, Number 1, pp. 23-41

Biotechnology, GM, GMO, Genetically modified agriculture, Australia 

$12.10


FPJ0801 - Beckie et al, GM Canola- the Canadian experience

This article examines the agronomic, economic and environmental impacts of genetically modified (GM) herbicide-resistant (HR) canola (Brassica napus) after 15 years of cultivation in Canada. The rapid adoption of GM canola is due to improved weed control, greater yields and higher economic returns. GM canola has reduced the environmental impact of herbicides compared with their non-HR crop counterparts. There are no marked changes in volunteer weed problems associated with GM canola, except in no-till systems when glyphosate was used alone to control volunteers. GM canola has not reduced weed species diversity. Moreover, GM canola has provided new in-crop herbicide modes of action and has been an important management tool for slowing weed resistance to high-risk herbicides. Reliance on GM crops in rotations using the same mode-of-action herbicide and/or multiple in-crop herbicide applications over time can result in intense selection pressure for weed resistance. With current favourable economic returns from growing canola, many farmers are shortening their GM canola rotations. To date, evolved glyphosate- or glufosinate-resistant weeds in GM canola in Canada has not yet occurred.

 

Beckie H J, Harker K N , Légère A, Morrison M J, Séguin-Swartz G, Falk K C -
GM Canola: the Canadian experience
Farm Policy Journal Autumn 2011, Volume 8, Number 1, pp. 43-49


Biotechnology, GM, GMO, Genetically modified agriculture, Australia.

$12.10


FPJ0801 - Hursh K, GM Canola in Canada- the pros and cons

Farmers in Western Canada have been growing genetically modified (GM) canola for 15 seasons. Both Monsanto’s Roundup Ready canola and Liberty Link / InVigor canola from Bayer CropScience were introduced in the mid-90s. The acreages of these two herbicide tolerant types of canola have steadily increased, but GM canola has had drawbacks and continues to attract controversy. The other canola system of note, accounting for a declining minority of the Canadian acreage, is Clearfield. While this involves resistance to another type of herbicide chemistry, the resistance trait was developed through mutagenesis and not through transgenics so it isn’t considered to be GM. Interestingly, most Canadian growers are oblivious to this distinction. They choose the system that works best for their farming operation. There is brisk competition in variety improvement within each of the systems and producer choices are greatly influenced by the superiority of varieties, irrespective of system. Canadian canola is not segregated, so no matter what system a producer is using, the production has to go into markets that will accept GM traits.
Hursh, K - GM Canola in Canada: the pros and cons
Farm Policy Journal Autumn 2011,  Volume 8, Number 1, pp. 51-53
 
Biotechnology, GM, GMO, Genetically modified agriculture, Australia

$5.50


FPJ0801 - Napasintuwong O,The rise of rice biotechnology

Rice is a staple food in Asia and demand is increasing in other regions. Even though the demand for rice among Asian consumers is expected to decrease on a per capita basis as they earn more, this will be offset by increased demand for rice in lower-income countries in Asia. The demand for specialty rice such as fragrant rice and nutrition-enhanced varieties will also increase as higher income consumers demand higher quality and healthier products. The breeding of rice is becoming more challenging among rice producing countries as international competition rises. While conventional breeding techniques are used to develop rice varieties that can better cope with biotic and abiotic stresses and enhance quality, biotechnology could provide a more efficient solution. Marker-assisted selection (MAS) and genetic engineering are two modern biotechnologies extensively used in rice breeding and have been estimated to generate economic benefits for adopting countries. Nevertheless, the persistence of international trade regulations which restrict trade in some genetically modified (GM) products has delayed the use of genetic engineering for rice cultivation. This paper looks at the main issues at stake for rice production and marketing, taking into account the current role of both trade and biotechnology regulations, and their potential future evolution.

Napasintuwong, O - The rise of rice biotechnology
Farm Policy Journal Autumn 2011, Volume 8, Number 1, pp. 55-65

Biotechnology, GM, GMO, Genetically modified agriculture, Australia.

$12.10


FPJ0801 - Fitzgerald, P , The coming of GM wheat- a seven to ten year program of collaboration, consultation and communication

Genetically Modified (GM) wheat is at least seven years away from commercialisation. Approved field trials of some GM wheat varieties are now underway to assess the plants’ agronomic performance and characteristics and GM wheat will undergo stringent scientific assessment to ensure its safety for human health and the environment as part of the approval process by specialist regulatory authorities. The development of GM wheat varieties is a global collaborative effort involving scientists from both public and private sectors using proven technology. In parallel to the scientific developmental work, an extensive program of consultation and collaboration has begun domestically and internationally to examine and understand customer requirements for GM wheat. A recent survey in the USA (IFIC 2010) showed strong support for GM wheat with the majority of Americans (80%) indicating they were somewhat or very likely to purchase products made with GM wheat, if these foods were produced using sustainable practices to feed more people using less resources. Australia is at the fore of this work as it maintains a skilled and successful agricultural research and development sector; and is a major exporter of wheat.
Fitzgerald, P - The coming of GM wheat: a seven to ten year program of collaboration, consultation and communication
Farm Policy Journal Autumn 2011, Volume 8, Number 1, pp. 67-83

Biotechnology, GM, GMO, Genetically modified agriculture, Australia

$12.10


FPJ0801 - Phelps B, GM crops and foods- promises, profits and politics

The cruelest lie about Genetically Manipulated (GM) crops and foods is that they can ‘feed the world’. GM companies use empty promises of bountiful, designer foods to foist GM onto reluctant governments, farmers and shoppers. The UN says there is now enough food to feed everyone but our social priorities and conflicts allow a billion people to starve. GM technology cannot right this injustice, but false promises take scarce resources away from finding durable solutions to feeding, housing and clothing us all. Independent scientific evidence also shows that some GM foods may pose risks to human and animal health and the environment, but industry censorship hides the truth. Since commercial GM canola seed was first sold in some Australian states in 2008, GM contamination is imposing extra costs and losses on farmers and the food industry. Australia also risks losing its unique competitive advantage as the main supplier of GM-free grains to world markets. Farmer Protection laws that make the owners and users of GM responsible for their products have growing support. A more precautionary, open and scientific regulatory regime on all GM plants, animals and micro-organisms is also needed.  Phelps, B - GM crops and foods: promises, profits and politics
Farm Policy Journal Autumn 2011, Volume 8, Number 1, pp. 75-85

Biotechnology, GM, GMO, Genetically modified agriculture, Australia

$12.10


FPJ0801 - Potard G, The European love-hate relationship with GMOs

1. Are there any GM crops cultivated in the European Union? 2. Are there any GM products marketed in the EU? 3. What is the situation if a conventional product contains traces of GMOs? 4. Are GM regulations about to change under the forthcoming Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)? 5. Are the EU bans on GMOs a ‘non-tariff barrier to trade’? 6. What do EU consumers think?

 

Potard, G - The European love-hate relationship with GMOs
Farm Policy Journal Autumn 2011, Volume 8, Number 1, pp. 87-88

Biotechnology, GM, GMO, Genetically modified agriculture, Australia

 

$5.50


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