Wheat producers warned that GM is future

By Rick Pendrous

- Last updated on GMT

Most scientists argue that GM is an essential tool
Most scientists argue that GM is an essential tool

Related tags: Maize, Cereal, Gm

Wheat producers have been warned that, unless the world accepts genetic modification (GM), global production could suffer a similar fate to that of the US where the crop has been progressively replaced by GM maize and soya.

Shannon Schlecht, director of policy with US Wheat Associates, an organisation devoted to the promotion of US wheat exports, described initiatives underway in the US to recover ground lost to soya and maize since 1991.

He was speaking at a grain market outlook conference in London last month, organised by the Home Grown Cereals Authority (HGCA).

Increase productivity

US Wheat Associates is promoting the adoption of GM to increase the productivity and yield of wheat growing.

While the land used to grow wheat in the US in 1991 was around 31.2Mha – compared with 30Mha for maize and 23.4Mha for soya – this is predicted to fall to just 22.8Mha for wheat with maize and soya rising to 37.4Mha and 30.4Mha respectively for the 2011/12 season because of the better returns they bring farmers, said Schlect.

Despite the publication of a new report – the Global Citizens’ Report on the State of GMOs – which casts doubt on claims made in favour of GM crops, most scientists still argue that GM is an essential tool that ensures sufficient food stocks as the global population soars.

Scientific research

In the UK, the government recently gave permission for Rothamsted Research to undertake scientific research into the potential benefits of GM wheat, modified to produce a pheromone to repel aphids. This will begin next year.

With wheat being the most important UK crop with an annual value of about £1.2bn, no one should underestimate the economic losses caused by aphids​,” said Maurice Maloney, director of Rothamsted Research.

Meanwhile, HGCA director Rebecca Geraghty said: “The HGCA is commissioning research to examine the benefits and disbenefits of GM wheat​.”

Schlecht highlighted the dangers of failing to adopt GM for wheat. “20 years ago wheat was king in the US,​” he said. “Drought tolerant corn coming maybe next year will push wheat to more marginal land.

Related topics: Science

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Who are the "most scientists" who supposedly agree GM is useful?

Posted by Fran Murrell,

The Global Citizens report is referenced and reports on know failures of GM crops worldwide. Who are these shadowy "most scientists" who support GM? The latest review of GM safety studies (Domingo 2011) noted their limited number, that most reporting favourable findings were conducted by the GM companies and that the debate on safety remains open on all levels. A review on conflict of interest (Dials 2011) found that where at least one of the researchers was connected to the GM industry, 100% of peer reviewed studies made a favourable GM safety finding. This is not science it is corporate control of science. Until there is proper citable evidence that GM is working or safe I suggest we rely on the referenced report showing the failure of GM in the Global Citizens Report.

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We have also been warned about the potential dangers of GM foods!

Posted by MA,

According to the evidence, most GM crops actually produce lower yields, on average, than non-GM varieties. GM crops have resulted in a massive increase in pesticide use, not a decrease. And there are numerous animal feeding studies that show very concerning negative effects from GM diets.

Finally the latest study showing conclusive evidence that recombinant genes inserted into crops are being expressed in humans: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0890623811000566
Do you want your flora producing anti-aphid pheromones that will float around your bloodstream? I certainly don't and would at least want a choice about the matter!
The negative consequences of GM crops are far to irreversible and disastrous for it to be considered anything but irresponsible. However in light of corporate influence on government, it should be demanded that GM foods be labeled as such to keep unwanted genes and recombinant proteins out of the bodies of those who CHOOSE not to consume them.

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