Genetically engineered crops producing higher crop yields, lower costs

Genetically engineered crops may do better and cost less.
Genetically engineered crops may do better and cost less.
Farmers using agricultural equipment to plant genetically engineered crops may find they get better results, according to a recent survey.

The National Research Council said recently that farmers who use genetically engineered crops tend to have higher yields and lower production costs. These plants are generally resistant to the herbicide glyphosate, which is a main ingredient in many commercial weed killers.

The genetically engineered plants also produce a bacterium that protects them against a number of insects. The bacterium kills insects that ingest the crops.

"Many American farmers are enjoying higher profits due to the widespread use of certain genetically engineered crops and are reducing environmental impacts on and off the farm," said David Ervin, chairman of the committee that published the findings.

Though the crops present advantages to the farmers that use them, the NRC noted that weeds continue to become more resistant to glyphosate, which means producers are going to have to use other chemicals in order to deal unwanted plants and pests.

Another report sponsored by a number of universities noted that the number of weeds growing resistant to glyphosate has grown steadily since the herbicide was introduced in the 1970s. In order to work around this developing resistance, farmers are encouraged to avoid making more than two applications of the herbicide on a field within a period of two years.