A National Center for Food and Agricultural Policy study suggests that biotechnology plays a vital role in meeting the increased demand for corn production for food, feed and fuel.
According to the study, U.S. farmers gained an additional 8.3 billion pounds of yield last year due to biotech crops, including an extra 7.6 billion pounds of corn production, a 29 percent increase over 2004.
Since the commercialization of plant biotechnology in the late 1990s, corn production has benefited by an extra 39 billion pounds of yield, equivalent to 1.9 billion gallons of ethanol production. These continued yield increases will be a key factor in meeting future demand as corn prices hit 10-year highs and corn used for ethanol production is predicted to jump 34 percent in 2007.
Further, the report indicates biotech crops helped farmers increase their income by $2 billion last year, while reducing the amount of pesticides used 69.7 million pounds on the 123 million acres planted to the biotech-enhanced crops. In addition to herbicide-resistant and insect-resistant corn, the report evaluated the impact of herbicide-resistant soybean, herbicide-resistant and insect-resistant cotton, herbicide-resistant canola and virus-resistant squash and papaya.
Read the executive summary of the study here.
Link to press release.