ngin - Norfolk Genetic Information Network

3 December 2002



Buying Seed? Pay Attention to Biotech Traits

12/3/2002, Edited by Willie Vogt, E-Content Director, Farm Progress

There are some hot new biotech traits in the corn market including Roundup Ready corn, YieldGard Rootworm technology and the new corn borer product Herculex I. All aim to help you get more grain into the bin, but none are approved for sale in Europe and that's a concern for some grain buyers.

Recently, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) and the Corn Refiners Association (CRA) issued statements aimed at elevators that farmers should keep in mind when buying seed. Both ADM and the CRA warn about those grains that aren't approved for use in Europe.

ADM goes as far as saying, in a letter to its suppliers, that it "will not be able to accept delivery of these varieties at its corn processing plants because we ship gluten feed and various other food products to the European Union." The CRA warns suppliers of the need to channel non-EU-approved grain out of the export stream to keep the gluten market to Europe open.

With more of these non-EU-approved biotech products coming to market, and offering farmers clear production advantages, buyers will have to continue to be aware of where to market that grain. Best bet is to check out the Know Before You Grow section of the National Corn Growers Association Web site.

With StarLink troubles still fresh in corn buyers' minds, and the newest problems with the ProdiGene grains in Nebraska and Iowa, growers must keep these issues in mind at seed-buying time.


Donald White, a University of Illinois plant pathologist, on why US farmers have gone for GM corn:

"...what happens is there is a herd mentality. Everyone has to have a biotech program."

White's view chimes in with a University of Iowa study on why farmers were growing GM soya which concluded, "It is interesting to note....that increasing crop yields was cited by over half the farmers as the reason for planting GMO soybeans, yet yields were actually lower".

"The promise was that you could use less chemicals and produce a greater yield.  But let me tell you none of this is true."  Bill Christison, President of the US National Family Farm Coalition

"No, quality has not improved. I still believe the [GE] seed is a major, major problem and I think a lot of people agree with that."  William Dunavant Jr., chief executive of top U.S. cotton merchant Dunavant Enterprises, January 2002

"I've been a seed dealer for Monsanto for 18 years and this is the year we are going to have to part ways. They've forgotten that they have to serve farmers. I don't think they care who we've got to grow for. They're just concerned with making a fast buck."  Steve Mattis, an Illinois farmer and seed dealer

" guys [US Government] created this monster; you clean it up. I have learned my lesson. No more GMO crops on this farm ever."  US farmer and GM seed salesman, Nebraska

"The only truly safe seed selection will be seed corn free of any genetic modification"  A.E. Staley Manufacturing Co. in a letter to corn suppliers, November 2000

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