Overview: Herbicide Resistant Crops—Diffusion, Benefits, Pricing, and Resistance Management
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Weeds, along with insect pests and plant diseases, are sources of biotic stress in crop systems that reduce yields, raise production costs, and contribute to income risk to farmers (HarvestChoice, 2009). Transgenic, herbicide-resistant (HR) crop varieties, first introduced in 1996, offer the promise of more effective weed control. By 2008, more than 79 million hectares worldwide were planted to HR varieties of soybean, maize, canola, cotton, alfalfa, and sugar beets (James, 2009). What accounts for the rapid diffusion of HR crops in countries where they have gained regulatory approval? Research suggests grower adoption decisions depend not only on farm profits, but also on the complex characteristics of herbicides and weed-management programs, such as simplicity, convenience, flexibility, and safety. HR crops, thus, may provide multiple pecuniary and non-pecuniary benefits, including environmental benefits.
AgBioForum, 12(3&4) 2009: 244-248.