This year farmers dedicated over 90% of soybean, corn and cotton acres to bioengineered seeds. Most were herbicide tolerant (HT), insect resistant (Bt) or a stack of both, according to USDA.
“Demand for GE (genetically engineered) seeds is affected by the severity of pest infestations, output prices, input prices and the commercialization of new GE traits,” according to a USDA news release. “For example, the introduction of new varieties of Bt corn resistant to corn rootworm and earworm may have contributed to the increase in Bt corn adoption rates since 2003.”
Here are highlights from USDA’s findings (note, percentages might add up to more than 100% because of stacked trait packages):
HT soybeans rose from 7% of soybean acres in 1996 to their plateau at 94% in 2014.
HT cotton rose from 2% of cotton acres in 1996 to a peak of 91% in 2014.
HT corn grew slowly from 1% of corn acres in 1996 to 82% in 2018.
Bt corn grew from 1% of corn acres in 1996 to 82% in 2018.
Bt cotton expanded from 15% of cotton acres in 1996 to 85% in 2018.