Biotech varieties dominate acreage for some crops
Friday’s Acreage report from USDA showed U.S. planted corn acreage at 97.4 million acres, up slightly from last year and up from 97.3 million listed in the March Prospective Plantings report. The increase surprised most analysts who expected planted acres to drop off somewhat from what farmers intended in the spring, due to wet, cold conditions that delayed planting in several areas. The estimate of planted acreage would be the most since 1936, when farmers planted 102 million acres to corn.
Soybean acreage, estimated at 77.7 million acres, is up 1 percent from last year and would set a new record.
This report includes estimates of the percentage of corn, soybeans and cotton acreage planted to varieties developed using biotechnology, and shows the dominance of biotech in those crops.
Across the United States, biotech varieties account for 90 percent of the corn planted this year, up from 88 percent in 2012. Varieties genetically modified for insect resistance alone account for just 5 percent, down from 15 percent last year. Herbicide-resistant varieties, at 14 percent of the total, are down from 21 percent last year. Varieties with “stacked” traits, meaning bred for insect and herbicide resistance, increased to 71 percent of the total this year, up from 52 percent in 2012.
Ninety-three percent of soybeans planted in United States are biotech varieties, meaning bred for herbicide resistance in the case of soybeans. That total was unchanged from last year.
In the case of cotton, biotech varieties account for 90 percent of the total planted in 2013, down from 94 percent in 2012. Use of insect-resistant varieties dropped from 14 percent last year to 8 percent in 2013 and use of herbicide resistant varieties dropped from 17 percent in 2012 to 15 percent this year. Use of stacked-gene varieties increased from 63 percent last year to 67 percent this year.
Among the top 10 cotton-producing states, California makes the least use of biotech cotton varieties, at 77 percent of the total this year. In contrast, the report lists Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana and Missouri at 98 percent biotech cotton varieties and Mississippi at 99 percent.
Read the full Acreage report from USDA.
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