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Exposed: the great GM crops myth - Green Living, Environment - The Independent
Major new study shows that modified soya produces 10 per cent less food than its conventional equivalent

Genetic modification actually cuts the productivity of crops, an authoritative new study shows, undermining repeated claims that a switch to the controversial technology is needed to solve the growing world food crisis.

The study - carried out over the past three years at the University of Kansas in the US grain belt - has found that GM soya produces about 10 per cent less food than its conventional equivalent, contradicting assertions by advocates of the technology that it increases yields.

Professor Barney Gordon, of the university's department of agronomy, said he started the research - reported in the journal Better Crops - because many farmers who had changed over to the GM crop had "noticed that yields are not as high as expected even under optimal conditions". He added: "People were asking the question 'how come I don't get as high a yield as I used to?'"

He grew a Monsanto GM soybean and an almost identical conventional variety in the same field. The modified crop produced only 70 bushels of grain per acre, compared with 77 bushels from the non-GM one.

by Fran on Sun Apr 20th, 2008 at 01:46:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is not a hit-job study. Monsanto (see article) admits the facts, saying they didn't develop their soy for higher yields (meaning, they developed it to work with their weedkiller Roundup).

Also:

Exposed: the great GM crops myth - Green Living, Environment - The Independent

The Nebraska study suggested that two factors are at work. First, it takes time to modify a plant and, while this is being done, better conventional ones are being developed. This is acknowledged even by the fervently pro-GM US Department of Agriculture, which has admitted that the time lag could lead to a "decrease" in yields.

But the fact that GM crops did worse than their near-identical non-GM counterparts suggest that a second factor is also at work, and that the very process of modification depresses productivity. The new Kansas study both confirms this and suggests how it is happening.

The Kansas study suggests that the Roundup-Ready soy performs poorly in manganese uptake compared to non-GM varieties.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Apr 20th, 2008 at 03:34:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not about to defend GM crops, but does this only compare yield to surface area? There is also the issue of whether yield to energy is better, with less pesticide and fuel used, or even yield to water.

Member of the Anti-Fabulousness League since 1987.
by Ephemera on Sun Apr 20th, 2008 at 10:12:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is a study from the heart of US productivist farming, published in Better Crops, which is no DFH rag. The important thing is that it clearly documents (and Monsanto accepts) that GM varieties are not super-performers that will produce extra tonnage to "feed the world".

There are plenty of other parameters to study, for sure. But none speaks to The Masses™ like "you may rather not have GM, but we have no choice if we want to feed the world".

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Apr 20th, 2008 at 11:09:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes the article said:
Monsanto said yesterday that it was surprised by the extent of the decline found by the Kansas study, but not by the fact that the yields had dropped. It said that the soya had not been engineered to increase yields, and that it was now developing one that would.
Personally I always like to read from what the sources say directly.
Conservation Tillage and Pesticide Reduction seem to be two benefits that are not directly related to yields on specific fields. But as oil prices are higher this crop could still be a substantial benefit for certain fields or situations.
GM Crops Impact Environmenal Sustainability of Brazilian Farm Adoption of No Till Farming Helps Baggio Protect Soil Resources

Rutherfordian ------------------------------ RDRutherford
by Ronald Rutherford (rdrradio1 -at- msn -dot- com) on Mon Apr 21st, 2008 at 02:28:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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