Case Study - Plant Science and Australia's Thriving Cotton Industry
- Since the adoption of GM cotton in 1996, Australian cotton growers have reduced their insecticide use by 89%, with some crops not sprayed for insect at all.
- The largest gains in farm income from the use of GM crops have arisen in the cotton sector. Australian farmers have gained $1.14 billion additional income from using biotechnology over 20 years. It accounts for 83 per cent of the total cotton farm income gains!
- Today more than 99% of planted cotton in Australia uses biotechnology.
- Over the last decade new cotton varieties released have contained new features such as improved fibre quality, disease resistance, maturity and regional adaptability – research is being undertaken to develop varieties that require less water and are drought tolerant.
Ben grows GM cotton at a farm in Benerembah, 20 kilometres west of Griffith in New South Wales. Ben first grew cotton in 2016, with 100 hectares of cotton planned for the 2017 season, and 150 hectares planned for 2018. The family grow Bollgard 3/Roundup Ready cotton. However, in winter, they grow biscuit, noodle and durum wheat varieties.