Title: Benefits of genetically modified herbicide tolerant canola in Western Canada

Authors: Stuart J. Smyth; Peter W.B. Phillips; David Castle

Addresses: Department of Bioresource Policy, Business and Economics, University of Saskatchewan, 51 Campus Drive, Saskatoon, S7N 5A8, Sask., Canada ' Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, University of Saskatchewan, 101 Diefenbaker Building, Saskatoon, S7N 5B8, Sask., Canada ' Innogen Centre, University of Edinburgh, High School Yards, Edinburgh, EH1 1LZ, UK

Abstract: Commercial production of genetically modified herbicide tolerant (GMHT) canola began in Western Canada in 1997. By 2007, it generated between $374 million and $422 million in net direct and indirect benefits for producers, partly attributed to lower input costs and better weed control. Prior to GMHT canola, weeds were controlled by herbicides and tillage. Much of the tillage associated with GMHT canola production has been eliminated now that 66% of producers use conservation tillage. A reduction in the total number of chemical applications has resulted in a decrease of 1.3 million kg of herbicide active ingredient being applied annually. When comparing canola production in 1995 and 2006, the environmental impact of herbicides applied to canola decreased 53% per hectare and producer exposure to chemicals decreased 56%.

Keywords: canola production; biotechnology; Canada; economic impact; environmental impact; GMHT canola; herbicide reduction; herbicides; land use changes; spill-over benefits; conservation tillage; weed management; GM benefits; genetically modified canola; herbicide tolerant canola; herbicide tolerance; weed control; chemical exposure.

DOI: 10.1504/IJBT.2014.068928

International Journal of Biotechnology, 2014 Vol.13 No.4, pp.181 - 197

Received: 05 Jun 2013
Accepted: 21 Jan 2014

Published online: 30 Apr 2015 *

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