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2017 Winter - Twenty years on, the GM debate continues

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FPJ1402F - Cottee, N (2017), Biotechnology for Changing Practice

FPJ1402F - Cottee, N (2017), Biotechnology for Changing Practice, in Farm Policy Journal, vol. 14, no. 2, Autumn 2017, pp. 43-51, Surry Hills, Australia.

Australia’s cotton industry has been one of the global success stories in the application and stewardship of transgenic biotechnology to deliver productivity and sustainability gains.

Prompted to adopt new pest management approaches in part to answer social licence challenges – which began in the 1980s and lingered over the following decades – the industry rapidly adopted transgenic insecticidal (Bt) cotton varieties in the 1990s, followed by transgenic herbicide tolerant cotton varieties in the 2000s.

Growers and industry collaborate with biotechnology providers and researchers to improve the technology iteratively. Crucially, all parties worked together to create, enforce and maintain the all-important accompanying resistance management plans required to ensure the biotechnology’s effectiveness was maintained as part of an integrated pest management strategy.

This article outlines the development of the various biotechnologies in use in the Australian cotton industry from the 1990s through to the present day, the accompanying resistance management plans (RMPs), and the positive outcomes it has produced for growers, industry, the environment and the community.



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