By Fredrick G. Lawrence
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Extra info for Genetically Engineered Crops in America: Analyses, Adoption, Trends
Adoption of HT crops has mixed impact on herbicide use. Herbicide use on cotton and soybean acres (measured in pounds per planted acre) declined slightly in the first years following introduction of HT seeds in 1996, but 34 Jorge Fernandez-Cornejo, Seth Wechsler, Mike Livingston et al. increased modestly in later years (figure 14a). Herbicide use on soybean farms has been mostly constant since 1996, but increased slightly starting in 2002 and peaked in 2006. 6 pounds per acre in the early years of HT corn adoption to less than 2 pounds per acre in 2002 but increased moderately in recent years.
Bt crops have insect-resistant traits; HT crops have herbicide tolerance traits. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Economic Research Service (ERS). 2013. Adoption of Genetically Engineered Crops in the United States, data product. Figure 9. Adoption of genetically engineered corn: growth of stacked traits, 20002013. 26 Jorge Fernandez-Cornejo, Seth Wechsler, Mike Livingston et al. Bt crops have insect-resistant traits; HT crops have herbicide tolerance traits. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Economic Research Service (ERS).
Producers who plant HT crops expect to achieve at least the same output while lowering weed control costs for chemicals and for mechanical methods, and minimizing the need for scouting. In return, producers pay more for HT seeds. An additional economic effect is that the substitution of glyphosate, used in most herbicide-tolerant programs, for other herbicides decreases the demand for (and thus the price of) other herbicides (Fernandez-Cornejo and McBride, 2002). Thus, the introduction of HT seeds may have lowered pesticide costs for both HT seed adopters and nonadopters.