Genetic engineering is a Good Thing?

Jim Wright jwright at agt.net
Fri Sep 18 21:58:16 EST 1998


toby at u.washington.edu ('Toby' H D Bradshaw) wrote:
>In article <taquilla.1256520137A at news.erols.com>,
>Tracy Aquilla <taquilla at erols.com> wrote:
>>In Article <6ttqkr$19gu$1 at nntp6.u.washington.edu>, toby at u.washington.edu
>>('Toby' H D Bradshaw) wrote:
>>>In article <taquilla.1256470037B at news.erols.com>,
>>>Tracy Aquilla <taquilla at erols.com> wrote:
>>>>In Article <6tr6p2$16h4$1 at nntp6.u.washington.edu>, toby at u.washington.edu
>>>>('Toby' H D Bradshaw) wrote:
>>>
>>>>>'Roundup-Ready' soybeans.  Bt-cotton.
>>>>
>>>>The relevant question is, what percentage of the total US soybean crop is
>>>>now RR; what percent of the cotton crop is Bt? And how long after their
>>>>first commercial introduction did it take to reach this level?
>>>
>>>RR-soybeans were introduced commercially by Monsanto in 1996.  The first
>>>year about 2.5% of U.S. soybean acreage was RR, and that proportion grew
>>>to 15% in 1997.
>>
>>This is no faster than the first commercial F1 hybrids caught on.
>>
>>>In both years the entire supply of RR soybean seeds was
>>>sold out.  Seed availability apparently is the major factor limiting the
>>>market share of RR-soybeans in the U.S. at the moment.
>>>
>>>I don't have the numbers handy for cotton, but again the growth in U.S.
>>>market share has been limited by seed supply and not by demand.  Likewise
>>>for RR-'Yield Guard'-maize, which was planted on 750K acres in the U.S.
>>>this year.
>>
>>The next logical step would be to address the original question. What about
>>the early F1 hybrids? Do you think market penetration was initially limited
>>by supply or demand? Based on the assertions made thus far, I do not see a
>>significant difference between the rates of acceptance of the two technologies.
>
>Note that I stipulated the date of commercial double cross maize hybrids
>earlier in the century as the starting point.  That's because maize F1s at
>that time could not produce enough seed to satisfy demand.  Once double
>crosses were used, seed supply was not limiting.  We have not yet reached
>unlimited seed supplies of Roundup Ready seeds.
>
>It took 7 years for double cross maize acreage to go from 1% to 50%, even
>with unlimited seed.  If the growth rate was constant over that time, the
>doubling time was more than a year.  In one year, RR soybeans went from
>2.5% to 15%, for a six-fold increase even when seed was limiting.
>
>I still contend that today's U.S. farmers are accepting transgenics more
>quickly than their grandparents accepted hybrid maize.  Note that in both
>eras farmers were pretty quick studies in the economics of commodity
>production.

The situation with RR canola is similar, except that seed supplies are 
no longer limiting, only two years later, because canola multiplies very 
quickly.  I'm no expert, but the major limiting factor on the increase
in RR canola production is the high cost of the seed, the high cost of 
Monsanto's technology fee, and the intrusive agreement that has to be 
signed to aquire the technology.  Some people haven't been satisfied with 
the agronomic characteristics of the earliest varieties. If seeding costs
were the same as non RR varieties, RR canola would quickly have most of
the market, IMHO. (Unlike hybrid maize, the higher seed costs for RR 
canola reflect primarily development cost recovery and profit taking, as 
near as I can see). 

Jim


>




>Toby Bradshaw               | (206)616-1796 (voice)
>College of Forest Resources | (206)685-2692 (FAX)
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