South America Calling

Brazil GMO Planting On The Rise

Brazilian farmers will plant more genetically engineered grains than ever in the upcoming 2015-16 season as new traits and varieties become established, according to a survey by Celeres, a local farm consultancy.

Total GE soybean, corn and cotton planted area will rise 3.9% to 109 million acres. That represents 90.7% of total area.

"For this harvest, the arrival of new genetically modified events increased the range of options for farmers, (allowing them) to use technologies in line with their farming practices," said Celeres in its report.

Use is growing as GE varieties with stacked attributes start becoming more widespread. Leading the way are Monsanto's Intacta RR2 Pro soybeans, which are caterpillar and glyphosate resistance.

Currently, Brazil boasts 29 GE varieties for corn, of which 16 are stacked. There are 12 approved varieties of GE cotton, while there are six soybean varieties, although only one, RI/TH, is a stacked variety.

Celeres pointed out that while there are numerous corn varieties approved, not all of them are currently available to farmers.

Brazil's principle problem is that most of the technology with insect-resistant genes comes from just one protein, the CRY protein, said the consultancy. Similarly, herbicide tolerance is based on two active ingredients, glyphosate and ammonium glyphosate.

Farmers in Brazil have expanded their use of Intacta RR2 Pro, despite disputes over the royalty payments, prompted by its improved yield potential as much as its resistance to caterpillars. The technology could be used in over 30% of Brazilian soybean crops in 2015-16. In corn, resistance grew quickly to the first stacked GE technologies as few farmers adopted refuges.



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