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Chinese Study Shows GM Cotton Reduces Pests in Neighboring Fields

00:00AM Sep 24, 2008

Sara Muri, AgWeb Crops Online Editor
A study recently released by the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, in Beijing, proves that Bt genetically modified cotton reduces pests among neighboring fields, as well as the genetically modified field.
Data from the 10 years of study showed populations of the cotton bollworm were dramatically reduced by the introduction of Bt cotton.
Kong-Ming Wu and his colleagues analyzed data from 38 million hectares in six of China's northern provinces. The studied land was cultivated by 10 million resource-poor farmers.
In comments released with the study, Wu said the impact of the cotton bollworm had significantly hurt the cotton industry in his country. He cited figures from 1992, which showed an overall 30% loss in cotton yields in northern China due to the cotton bollworm. He said that because controlling pests was such an expense, farmers refused to plant cotton.
The study's authors also noted the health benefits of using Bt cotton.
"Poising from other insecticides, and even death, was a big problem for cotton farmers in the 1990s,” said Jian-Zhou Zhao, a co-author of the report. "Most farmers did not have proper protective clothes while applying insecticides with small backpack sprayers.”
Wu and his colleagues hope this study's findings create a safer and more economical solution to pest control on the small farms in China.
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