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FP7

Adoption and performance of the first GM crop introduced in EU agriculture

Funded under: FP7-KBBE

Abstract

This report analyses the process of adoption by farmers of the only GM crop cultivated in Europe. Bt maize is a transgenic crop resistant to an important group of pests (the maize borers). The study also provides the first large-scale empirical evidence on the agronomic and economic performance of this crop in the EU. The research was carried out in Spain, the EU member state with highest adoption rate of Bt maize in agriculture (reaching 60% in some regions) since it was first introduced in 1998. The report used data from a survey carried out among 402 commercial maize farms, including both adopters and non adopters of Bt maize during three growing seasons (2002-2004). Farmers were based in three Spanish provinces (Zaragoza, Lleida and Albacete) situated in leading Bt maize growing areas of Spain. All farmers were producing maize for feed manufacturing. The survey found that Bt maize, like other pest-control technologies, produced variable impacts on maize yields in different provinces, ranging from neutral to 11.8% yield increase. The regional variability depends mainly on local variations of pest pressure and damage. Yield gains for growers of Bt maize were translated into revenue increase since no differences were found in the price paid to farmers for Bt or conventional maize. Regarding production costs, Bt maize growers paid more for the seeds than conventional growers, but had reduced insecticide use and costs. On average, growers of conventional maize applied 0.86 insecticide treatments/year to control borers versus 0.32 treatments/year applied by Bt maize growers. All things considered, the impact of Bt maize adoption on gross margin obtained by farmers in different provinces ranged from neutral to 122/ha and year. In the survey, the reason most quoted by farmers for adopting Bt maize was "lowering the risk of maize borer damage" followed by "obtaining higher yields".

Additional information

Authors: GÓMEZ-BARBERO M, European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Institute for Prospective Technological Studies, Seville (ES);BERBEL J, European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Institute for Prospective Technological Studies, Seville (ES);RODRÍGUEZ-CEREZO E, European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Institute for Prospective Technological Studies, Seville (ES)
Bibliographic Reference: EUR 22778 EN (2008), various paging. Free of charge
Availability: http://bookshop.europa.eu/is-bin/INTERSHOP.enfinity/WFS/EU-Bookshop-Site/en_GB/-/EUR/ViewPublication-Start?PublicationKey=LFNA22778 (Catalogue Number: LF-NA-22778-EN-C)
ISBN: ISBN: 978-92-79-05737-3
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