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GM crops are 'impressive' - Lyon

"ONE OF the highlights of my visit to the US was to spend some time on farms looking at GM technology from a farmer's perspective.

GM FANS Scots LibDem MEP George Lyon met Illinois farmer Dale Campbell discuss ??Roundup ready?? crops
GM FANS Scots LibDem MEP George Lyon met Illinois farmer Dale Campbell discuss ??Roundup ready?? crops

Too often the views of ordinary farmers are drowned out by the strident voices on both sides of the debate. It was refreshing to hear directly from Dale Campbell, who is of Scottish descent, about the pros and cons of this new technology.

Dale runs a family farm of 2000 acres growing wheat, GM corn and GM soya in Illinois in a two man partnership with a neighbour's son, with little use of hired labour or contractors.

Dale told me about the trepidation he felt the first time he drove his sprayer into a crop of soya with a full tank of Roundup on board to kill off the weeds.

He had visions of the whole crop being burnt off - but it worked. Now nearly all soya grown in the US is GM. I asked him what the benefits were to him as a farmer and he told me that the switch to GM had two main impacts on his business.

The first benefit was the substantial reduction in the amount of weed control chemicals he needed to use as he was able to effectively kill off the weeds with one spray. Not only did that save him money, it dramatically reduced the environmental impact of his work.

He did warn, however, that good husbandry and correct timing were still vitally important to avoid having to spraying more than once and building up resistance to glyphosate. To avoid that, many farmers are now thinking of rotating Roundup resistant soya with alternative GM soya varieties."

(For the full piece, see The Scottish Farmer this week, September 7, 2013)

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