Australian Farmers Finally Benefit from GM Canola

MONSANTO Australia Ltd has released the final results from a survey of its 2008 Roundup Ready canola growers – that is those farmers who choose to grow genetically modified canola this last season.

Canola is an important crop in Australia, particularly as part of a wheat rotation.  While North American farmers have been growing GM canola for some years, because of bans in Australia following a successful anti-GM campaign spearheaded by Greenpeace, 2008-2009 was the first season for GM canola in Australia.

The results taken from 92 of the 100 growers that delivered GM canola grain, indicate that Roundup Ready canola outperformed alternative herbicide tolerant canola varieties when it came to yield and overall benefits. 100 percent of growers surveyed said they will plant Roundup Ready canola again.

Growers said the simplicity of using the Roundup Ready herbicide system was a key benefit during the 2008 season. Other key benefits were the flexibility Roundup Ready canola offers as well as the ability of the system to clean up formerly weedy paddocks in preparation for the following crop.

Roundup Ready produced higher gross margins in comparison to the Triazine tolerant varieties.The increase in gross margin was driven by the significant yield advantage of Roundup Ready canola.
Tony May, Monsanto Australia Canola Business Lead said, “On top of the  higher yields on average and excellent weed control, growers rated other benefits as the simplicity of use of the system – giving them the flexibility to dry sow and plant on time as a distinct benefit of using the Roundup Ready canola system.

Growers tended to use Roundup Ready canola in paddocks with high weed pressure and achieved great results in the vast majority of instances. 93% of growers rated their weed control as excellent.   The key message is that growers don’t have to sacrifice yield for weed control. It really is a more simple, flexible and reliable system.”





This post is based on a media release from Monsanto entitled ‘Ripper Roundup Ready Results: GM Canola a 2008 success’, made on April 6, 2009.

Monsanto Company is a leading global provider of technology-based solutions and agricultural products that improve farm productivity and food quality. Monsanto remains focused on enabling both small-holder and large- scale farmers to produce more from their land while conserving more of our world’s natural resources such as water and energy.

Roundup Ready is a Registered Trademark of Monsanto Technology LLC, Monsanto Australia Limited licensee.

12 Responses to Australian Farmers Finally Benefit from GM Canola

  1. Guy Anderlecht April 9, 2009 at 4:14 pm #

    Hi Jennifer, just a quick question. Is the Institute for Public Affairs part-funded by Monsanto? Regards, Guy

  2. jennifer April 9, 2009 at 5:03 pm #

    The IPA is not funded at all by Monsanto.

  3. Helen Mahar April 9, 2009 at 5:07 pm #

    A 22% yield increase from roundup ready Canola is impressive. Thats not taking into account the reduced costs of weed control wth roundup ready canola. So the actual profit margin would be considerably higher than the increased yields indicate. Then there are the non tangible environmental benefits of reduced spraying with Roundup ready Canola, and the health benefits of reduced working hours for farmers and of not having to handle crop sprays so often.

  4. janama April 9, 2009 at 5:52 pm #

    I suppose my concern is that it’s a Monsanto release – what else could they say?

    these people naturally disagree with the result.

  5. Helen Mahar April 9, 2009 at 6:45 pm #


    It seems the GRDC trials were in NSW and Vic, and due to drought, only two sites gave any results. Not conlcusive enough for informed decisions to be made. The Monsanto survey of growers is far more promising. Most farmers will buy a small amount of seed to try out. If it does not live up to expectations it gets chucked. Like we do with new wheat varieties. However we never judge a wheat variety on its first year, if that first year is a drought. Monsanto are in this game for the long term. They cannot afford short term marketing hype.

    For those who do not know how canola can fit into a wheat rotation, it is used as a break crop. Wheat is highly susceptible to root diseases and nematodes. The traditional way to control these was to fallow, risking wind erosion. Canola breaks this disease cycle, and its robust root system aerates the soil, a further advantage. Where canola can be economically grown, (unfortunately not in my district) it is an important part of the cropping rotation.

  6. Halcyon April 9, 2009 at 10:11 pm #

    I grow canola, but am not tempted to grow the Roundup ready canola at this stage. Roundup is too useful a herbicide to lose through the development of herbicide resistance weeds and the way I see it is that each use of roundup is one year closer to that resistance.
    If I need a pre emergent herbicide I can use Spray Seed and then use Triazine Tolerant (TT) canola for post emergent weed control. Maybe less profit in the short term, but it is the longer term that I am most interested in.

  7. Charles April 10, 2009 at 11:06 am #

    Another case of manipulation of the results to get an outcome. Most of the farmer comparisons are between a hybrid Roundup Ready cultivar, versus a triazine tolerant conventionally bred variety. No surprises that in a spring season that finished quickly and was dry, that a hybrid variety went well. Interestingly, the hybrid imidazolinone tolerant varieties that were grown, flogged the Roundup Ready types six ways from Monday in trials conducted in both NSW and VIC last season, with conventional hybrids outdoing both of them.

    There seems to be a myth out there that unless you are growing Roundup Ready crops you can’t conduct no-till farming operations. NewsFlash! You don’t need Roundup Ready to do no-till farming.

    The live issue with this one is that most hectares in cropping Australia get a dose of glyphosate once a year already, and we also have some issues with glyphosate resistance under that regime. Putting more doses on per year will only lead to further abuse of that system.

    The other live issue is that segregation is impossible, which means that once it starts everyone will be doing GM whether they like it or not. Even if you don’t want to touch it, you will have to pay to try and keep it out, pay to get it tested to see if you have been successful, and eventually it will become part of your crop anyway (just ask the Canadians).

    This is a concept that delivers virtually no public benefit, but a lot to the multi-national that flogs the glyphosate to be used in it, and the seed which will be required to implement it. If we want to surrender our freedom in how we grow canola to Monsanto, then this is the most efficient and effective way of doing it.

  8. DMS April 11, 2009 at 5:44 pm #

    Those comments from Guy and Charles were right on cue

    1 – results are distorted in some way, or there is some kind of hidden funding agenda (what the Hell has the IPA got to do with anything in this post? (Well, Jennifer’s affiliation is well known but not relevant – I don’t see the point.)

    and this classic

    2 – farmers are idiots and are victims of a huge con and far too stupid to make their own agronomic and economic decisions. (Presumably we should ban something then.)

    Way to be predictable.

  9. DMS April 11, 2009 at 5:45 pm #
  10. Leslie April 21, 2009 at 3:11 pm #

    This is not what I have heard from growers in the field and the beekeepers who usually put their bees on canola. All sane beekeepers wished to avoid the GM Canola due to the colon cancer they develop from being on it. Most were successful in doing so.
    Most GM canola growers said there crops did poorly and most did not wish to plant again.
    Lets hope this is true. Yields were not higher but much less and quality was poor only good for animal feed. Pity the poor animals that have to eat it. This should be mandatory to label this feed as such.
    Well if one knew what any one should this is a disaster on all fronts and worse if GM continues here. Look at what it has done to every country who has sown it so far.
    I hope you are all aware of the film the Future of Food, on Utube. If not watch it.
    So these so called results and tests are just more spin with no basis in tuth or fact just like all of Monsanto’s other so called tests. Totally manipulated for profit & power.
    Sorry wake up Australia. Save your bees, your food and Australias agricultural Industry & exports. No one wants to buy this rubbish I know I am an exporter.

  11. hans July 28, 2009 at 2:04 pm #

    If you want a snap shot of why insurance companies wont insure genetically modified organisms.. and what damage is done to lab rats fed genetically modified food read David Suzukis book Naked Ape to Super Species.. invaluable information

  12. Deb October 14, 2010 at 7:50 pm #

    Keep this monstrous technology out of Australia.

    If you are an organic farmer, how can you stop this spreading to your crop.

    More pesticides, more pollution, less biodiversity.

    Come on, let’s keep australia clean. That’s what will give our farmers the real edge.

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