Farm income and production impacts of using GM crop technology 1996–2016

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Abstract or Summary

This paper estimates the value of using genetically modified (GM) crop technology in agriculture at the farm level. It follows and updates earlier annual studies which examined impacts on yields, key variable costs of production, direct farm (gross) income and impacts on the production base of the four main crops of soybeans, corn, cotton and canola. The commercialisation of GM crops has occurred at a rapid rate since the mid 1990s, with important changes in both the overall level of adoption and impact occurring in 2016. This annual updated analysis shows that there continues to be very significant net economic benefits at the farm level amounting to $18.2 billion in 2016 and $186.1 billion for the period 1996–2016 (in nominal terms). These gains have been divided 48% to farmers in developed countries and 52% to farmers in developing countries. About 65% of the gains have derived from yield and production gains with the remaining 35% coming from cost savings. The technology has also made important contributions to increasing global production levels of the four main crops, having, for example, added 213 million tonnes and 405 million tonnes respectively, to the global production of soybeans and maize since the introduction of the technology in the mid 1990s.

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