According to the Biotechnology Industry Organization, Bt corn reduced pesticide use on only 2.5% of the total U.S. corn crop in 1998.

Fields of Genes

Farmers across the country are taking advantage of a whole new crop of high-tech alternatives--corn genetically engineered to kill pests, or soybeans that survive a blast of weed-killer. So how are they these crops working? Studies show mixed results.

Crop Yield Profit Herbicide
/ Pesticide use
Cotton
(genetically engineered to resist herbicides)
up* up* no significant reduction*
soybeans
(genetically engineered to resist herbicides)
small increase* small increase* significant decrease*

*according to 1998 USDA report

Note: Bt corn only, adoption of herbicide tolerant varieties not included.
Source: National Center for Food and Agricultural Policy


Explore More: Genetic Engineering
Copyright 2004, Iowa Public Television
The Explore More project is supported by funds from the
Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust
and the USDE Star Schools Program.