Genetically Engineered Crops in the United States

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1 Genetically Engineered Crops in the United States James MacDonald USDA Economic Research Service Briefing to OECD Network on Farm-Level Analysis Paris, June, 2014

2 An ERS Report Genetically Engineered Crops in the United States, by Fernandez-Cornejo, Livingston, Wechsler, & Mitchell. ERS Economic Research Report # 162. February, 2014 Data Sources: USDA aggregated survey (acreage, chemical use) and administrative (GE testing, field trials) data USDA Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS) farm-level data (linking GE use to farm attributes and to yields, chemical use, labor, and finances)

3 Adoption of GE crops in the U.S. has been rapid (Percent of acres planted) 100 HT: Herbicide tolerant; Bt: insect resistant HT Soybeans HT Cotton Bt Cotton Bt Corn HT Corn

4 Notable feature: Seeds with more than one trait (stacked) grew rapidly in recent years, particularly stacked corn from 1 % in 2000 to 71 % in 2013 GE corn (Percent of acres planted) Bt only Stacked (Bt and HT) HT only

5 Why are U.S. farmers adopting GE crops? According to ARMS, the main reasons stated by U.S. farmers for adopting biotech crops are: 1. To increase yields. 2. To save management time and make other practices easier. 3. To decrease pesticide input costs.

6 Findings: GE crops and yields 1. The adoption of Bt crops increases yields by mitigating yield losses from insects. 2. The effect of HT crops on yields is mixed. Some studies show statistically significant increases; others do not. 3. Seeds with several GE traits (stacked) tend to have higher yields than conventional seeds, or than seeds with only one GE trait. Not surprisingly, adoption rates of stacked trait seeds have increased rapidly.

7 Findings: Net returns and household income 1. Planting Bt cotton and Bt corn seed is usually associated with higher net returns (revenues minus cash expenses). 2. The case of HT crops is mixed. Some studies show a positive association between HT crop adoption and net farm returns; others do not. 3. HT crop adoption is associated with reductions in labor hours per acre, and increases in total household income, as the reduction in hours enable farmers to generate additional income from expanded farm operations or from off-farm activities.

8 Findings: Bt crops and insecticide use 1. Insecticide use declined (except cotton in due to boll weevil eradication). 2. Adoption of Bt corn and Bt cotton are generally associated with lower insecticide use. 3. Helped by refuges, insect resistance to Bt crops has been low over the first 15 years, but there are some indications that insect resistance is developing to some Bt traits in some areas and anecdotal evidence that resistance has contributed to higher insecticide sales in 2012/2013.

9 Findings: HT crops and herbicide use 1. Herbicide use declined slightly in the first years of HT crop adoption but increased modestly in later years. 2. HT crops enabled farmers to substitute glyphosate for more toxic and persistent herbicides. However, overreliance on glyphosate has contributed to the evolution of glyphosate resistance in certain weeds. 3. Wider use of best management practices to control weeds can help delay the evolution of resistance and sustain the efficacy of HT crops

10 Findings: HT crops and tillage HT adopters had higher rates of adoption of conservation tillage (CT) than growers of conventional varieties, indirectly benefiting the environment. For example, for soybeans (2006): 86 % of HT adopters used CT compared to only 35 % of nonadopters 100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% HT Conventional Varieties Percent of acres, Conventional Tillage Practices Percent of acres, Other Conservation Tillage Practices (excludes no-till) Percent, of acres, No Till

11 What s the Future Hold? Acreage in 2013 Crop Planted acres (millions) Percent GE Corn Soybeans Cotton Alfalfa 17.7? Canola 1.8? Sugarbeets 1.2? Wheat All others All field crops ? Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, Acreage GE varieties are available for alfalfa, canola, and sugarbeets, but USDA/NASS does not report GE planted acreage, and they are overlooked in summaries. ERS (ARMS) will report 2013 estimates this Fall. GE varieties are also commercially available for papaya and squash, but for no other fruits and vegetables. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and should not be attributed to the Economic Research Service or USDA.

12 HT, Glyphosate, and Resistance in Soybeans

13 HT, Glyphosate, and Resistance in Soybeans

14 What s the Future Hold? Glyphosate resistance will spread, and there are no new herbicides on the horizon. Best management practices include variation in herbicides, & combinations of weed control practices. This has elements of a common pool problem my actions can affect the returns to your actions.

15 What s the Future Hold? R&D & New Traits Rapid commercial success of GE varieties marks the success of past R&D efforts. A few measures of R&D activity provide a glimpse into future availability of new GE crops (R&D pipeline). One such measure is the number of releases of GE varieties for field testing approved by USDA Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). Firms may apply to APHIS for field testing after successful lab testing of GE varieties (under confined conditions).

16 Findings: Field testing of GE varieties The number of releases of GE varieties for field testing approved by APHIS grew from 4 in 1985 to close to 1,200 in 2002 and averaged around 800 per year thereafter * Note: While the number of releases peaked in 2002, other measures increased rapidly (e.g., the number of sites per release almost doubled between ).

17 Field testing of GE varieties (2) By Sept 2013, more than 17,000 releases for field testing had been approved by APHIS. Half of the releases involve GE crops with pest management traits (see pie chart). The majority are for corn (bar chart) Marker Gene, 1892 Other, 1986 Virus Resistance, 1425 Agronomic Properties, 5190 Bacterial Fungal Resistance, Resistance, Nematode Resistance, 149 Herbicide Tolerance, 6772 Product Quality, 4896 Insect Resistance, Institutions having the most authorized field releases: Monsanto (6,782), Pioneer/DuPont (1,405), Syngenta (565), and USDA/ARS (370).

18 Another benchmark: Determination of nonregulated status Granted after field testing, if APHIS determines that the organism is unlikely to pose a plant pest risk. It signals that the GE seed is close to commercialization. As of September 2013, APHIS had received 145 petitions for deregulation and had granted petitions were granted for corn, 15 for cotton, 12 for soybeans, 11 for tomatoes, 7 for canola, 5 for potatoes. Others include sugarbeets, papaya, rice, squash, alfalfa, plum, rose. By trait, 43 petitions were granted for herbicide tolerance: 31 for insect resistance (Bt), 17 for product quality, 8 for virus resistance, 9 for agronomic properties, and 2 for others.

19 What s the Future Hold? Genetics Research GMOs focus on transgenes: traits from other organisms. But other genetic engineering techniques, not thought of as GE/GMO, are of growing importance. Marker assisted selection & genomic sequencing have sped traditional selection processes, with impacts in livestock and specialty crops as well as field crops.

20 Concluding comments Most soybean, cotton, and corn producers have adopted GE seeds, and on 90% of acres, since commercial introduction nearly 20 years ago. Despite higher prices of GE seeds, farmers benefit from growing GE crops through higher yields, lower pesticide costs and/or management time savings. Helped by refuges, insect resistance to Bt crops has been low over the first 15 years, but there are some indications that insect resistance may be developing to some Bt traits in some areas. Resistance to the herbicide glyphosate has already evolved in certain weed populations. BMP can help delay evolution of resistance and sustain efficacy of HT crops.

21 Contacts Jorge Fernandez-Cornejo (lead author) James MacDonald (supervisor/presenter) Report: Genetically Engineered Crops in the United States,