GM crops for reducing greenhouse gas emissions - Rick Roush
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GM crops for reducing greenhouse gas emissions - Rick Roush

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  • As mentioned earlier, another yield enhancement research project includes demonstrating technical proof of concept that crop performance in response to nitrogen inputs can be enhanced through biotechnology. As you know, nitrogen is one of the most important nutrients for crop growth, second only to water. Nitrogen is one of the most important and widely used farm inputs, so any product that aids in the efficiency of nitrogen use will have some obvious performance benefits at the farm level. We target to get 10% yield increase over elite varieties at time of launch or equivalent yield with 50% less nitrogen fertilizer
  • In Canada, hybrids are also used for weed control. They grow very vigorously early and create canopy closure that makes it difficult for weeds to germinate. These photos show an InVigor hybrid and an open pollinated canola crop after the same herbicide treatment.
  • if you grew up in the heartland (ie, Illinois) and watched what happened in years of little rain, you also can’t help be excited about the progress our R&D team is making in drought tolerance. Drought tolerance is one of several approaches in our pipeline to enhancing yield – other approaches look at cold tolerance, salt tolerance and nitrogen uptake. The value in this trait can come in one of three ways – yield insurance, yield enhancement and cost savings in irrigated land. The demand will be there – not only is the need for water inherently understood, but the value of water is soaring, and the resource is one we’ll need to protect. Today, agriculture is, without question, the largest consumer of water. Did you ever think it would be exciting to watch corn grow? I sure do….the video you’re seeing is a time lapsed video of drought tolerance in the field – only last year I would have been showing you pictures from the lab. As you watch, look for how the leaves on the corn on the left curl from lack of water. --------------------------------------------------------- Little picture of movie, click movie, then click to next slide As excited as I am about Omega-3, if you grew up in the heartland and watched what happened in years of little rain, you also can’t help be excited about this trait for drought tolerance. Drought tolerance is one of several approaches in our pipeline to enhancing yield – other approaches look at cold tolerance, salt tolerance and nitrogen uptake. The value in this trait can come in one of three ways – yield insurance, yield enhancement and cost savings in irrigated land. The demand will be there – not only is the need for water inherently understood, but the value of water is soaring, and the resource is one we’ll need to protect. Today, agriculture is, without question, the largest consumer of water. The video you’re seeing is a time lapsed video of drought tolerance in the field – only last year I would have been showing you pictures from the lab. As you watch, look for how the leaves on the corn on the left curl from lack of water. From a research perspective, there are a few key milestones: One, you’re looking at the first in a multi-generational pipeline of drought tolerant products. Commercially, this will be a major and protracted business opportunity with continued introduction of next generation traits. Two, this year, we’ve advanced two lead products, and we have 30 additional hits in Phase 1 in our gene screening program. Three, next year, we will be stacking the drought tolerant gene with our weed and insect control products – again, the farmer will demand a stacked product from the outset, so you have to prepare for that early in your research. And four, we’re extending this initial research in corn into our other core crops, particularly canola, which is being enhanced by our recently announced canola seed acquisition.

GM crops for reducing greenhouse gas emissions - Rick Roush GM crops for reducing greenhouse gas emissions - Rick Roush Presentation Transcript

  • GM Crops for Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions
    • Rick Roush
    • Melbourne School of Land & Environment
  • Global area of GM crops (www.isaaa.org)
  • Current Transgenic Crops
    • Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) cotton, corn
    • Herbicide Tolerance (soy, corn, cotton, canola) and hybrids
    • Virus resistance, e.g., papaya on Hawaii
    • (Viruses otherwise often controlled by sprays for insect vectors)
    • Bt Cotton: 70-90% reduction in insecticide use in USA and Aus
    75%-80% reduction in sprays and poisonings in China
  • Farm Benefits of Transgenic Crops
    • Reduction in (persistent) pesticide use (5-70%/crop), 350 million kg, = 40% of EU use, 16% compared to non-GM
    • Increased yield, billions of kg
    • $5 billion cost savings
    • Sources: J Fernandez-Cornejo, USDA; Brookes & Barfoot in UK
  • GM Crops Have Benefited Growers Everywhere Grown
    • Yields, inputs, net profits and/or time in at least some seasons
    • Canadian canola : Herbicide use down 11%; less fuel; farm income benefits of $195 million in 2005 alone
    • European Commission, Joint Research Centre
  • Climate Benefits of GM Crops
    • Reduction in tillage
    • 100 million tonnes in soil
    • 9 million from reduced fuel consumption in tractors, sprayers
    • 6.9 million cars
    • Source: Brookes & Barfoot 2008
  • New Scientist 5 Jan 2008
    • “ farming contributes more to global warming
    • than all the world's cars, trains, ships and
    • planes put together. And the single biggest
    • problem with farming is not carbon but
    • nitrogen…..
    • Although only a tiny proportion escapes into the atmosphere as nitrous oxide, it is an extremely potent greenhouse gas.”
  • Nitrogen Use Efficiency Nitrogen is key for crop growth Higher yield Yield insurance Less fertilizer use Less runoff Control With Gene
  • NUE Canola Yields
  • Nitrogen Use Efficiency
    • Climate Change
    • Less fertilizer use, CO2
    • Less runoff, nitrous oxide
  • Adaptation -- Conservation of water Field Trials GM for Water Use Efficiency
  • Drought Tolerant Corn in Field Reduced Leaf Temperature With Gene Without Gene With Gene Reduced Leaf Rolling Without Gene 40 32 o C 34
  • In Field: Water Use Efficiency Genes
  • Key issues in ag, health and environmental sustainability -Conservation of soil & water quality and quantity -Energy use, esp fossil fuels -Reduction of pesticides -Reduction of fertilizers in future -Reduction of toxins/pollutants -Economic & social systems