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Europe Reaps Benefits from Bt Corn, Study Says

A study of genetically modified insect resistant corn the EU returns positive results.

The EU tends to take an anti-biotech stance, but in the seven countries that had 2006 plantings of genetically modified corn, the crop has provided benefits for producers, consumers, and the environment, according to a PG Economics study released Monday.

The study spans the production of biotech insect resistant corn beginning with the first commercial crops in Spain in 1998. The study's author, Graham Brookes, says the results suggest that the EU should be more open to biotech corn.

"Farmers, consumers and the environment all gain from adoption of this technology. It is therefore somewhat ironic, that by largely ignoring its application in the EU, we are denying ourselves these benefits," he says.

The study found that in regions affected by European Corn Borer and Maize Stem Borer, Bt corn yields were often 10% or more above conventional yields. In 2006, Bt corn producers earned an additional $35-75 per acre, or a 12 to 21% improvement, the study also found.

The GM corn also resulted in lower mycotoxin levels in some regions, and in environmental gains where farmers were able to forego some insecticide use.

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