Biotech Crop Surge Reaches All-Time High

In the past 21 years, commercialized biotech crops have increased 110-fold to an estimated 185.1 million hectares (about 457 million acres) in 2016, according to the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA).

“Biotech crops have become a vital agricultural resource for farmers around the world because of the immense benefits for improved productivity and profitability,” according to ISAAA chair of the board, Paul S. Teng. “With the commercial approvals and plantings of new varieties of biotech potatoes and apples, consumers will begin to enjoy direct benefits of biotechnology with produce that is not likely to spoil or be damaged, which in turn has the potential to substantially reduce food waste and consumer grocery costs.”

According to the ISAAA report, “Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops,” the group estimates that using biotech crops has the CO2 reduction equivalent of removing 12 million cars from the road each year. They also help farmers apply an estimated 19% fewer herbicide and insecticide use.

Randy Hautea, ISAAA global coordinator, says in developing countries, biotech crops are helping boost incomes for 18 million small farmers and their families, which provides financial stability to up to 65 million people worldwide.

“Biotechnology is one of the tools necessary in helping farmers grow more food on less land,” he says. “However, the promises of biotech crops can only be unlocked if farmers are able to buy and plant these crops, following a scientific approach to regulatory reviews and approvals.”

ISAAA expects worldwide adoption of biotech crops, particularly in developing nations, to continue to trend upward. Developing nations account for 54% of total biotech acres.

Globally, 78% of soybeans, 64% of cotton, 26% of corn and 24% of canola are biotech varieties.

Read the executive summary of ISAAA’s report at



Latest News

Farmers Really Want to Plant Corn Not Soybeans, Says FBN Chief Economist 

Kevin McNew says the company's survey of 2,000-plus growers shows they will plant 92.5 million acres of corn and 84.5 million acres of soybeans. Both estimates are counter to what USDA projected in February.

ADM Offers BiOWiSH Fertilizer Enhancement At 7 Locations

The BiOWiSH Fertilizer Enhancement is specifically designed to optimize yield potential by improved nutrient uptake and to improve soil conditions for increased plant vigor.

Unloading grain
Deadline Looms, but still no Movement on U.S.-Mexico Corn Trade Dispute, Grassley says

Iowa Senator encourages U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai to move toward instituting USMCA dispute settlement process.

What The Soil Has to Say

By turning biological test results into gigabytes of data, Pattern Ag has developed the largest soil metagenomics database with more than 200 billion DNA reads. 

CoBank: Emerging Risks Depress Profit Margins and Challenge Traditional Business Models

“Over the next five years, ag retailers will need to get a handle on changing customer needs, lower expected industry working capital, and rising property casualty insurance costs,” Ken Zuckerberg writes.

If You Think US Fertilizer Prices are High, Canadian Farmers Are Stuck With Surprising Fertilizer Tax

As Ontario, Canada farmer Julie Maw scouts her wheat fields, it’s the moment of truth for the record number of acres planted across the province this year.