Michael Gusta, Stuart J. Smyth, Kenneth Belcher, and Peter W.B. Phillips
University of Saskatchewan
University of Edinburgh
Genetically-modified herbicide-tolerant (GMHT) canola was introduced in Western Canada in 1995. In 2007, a producer survey elicited answers to 80 questions regarding their experiences, including production practices, tillage and herbicide use, control of volunteer canola, and weed-control practices. The survey revealed that the new technology generated between $1.063 billion CAD and $1.192 billion annual net direct and indirect benefits for producers from 2005-2007; this is partly attributed to lower input costs and partly attributed to better weed control. One major concern in the early years following introduction was the potential for HT traits to outcross with weedy relatives or for GMHT canola to become a pervasive and uncontrollable volunteer in non-canola crops, either of which would offset some producer gains. The survey largely discounts that concern. More than 94% of respondents reported that weed control was the same or had improved, less than one-quarter expressed any concern about herbicide resistance in weed populations, 62% reported no difference in controlling for volunteer GM canola than for regular canola, and only 8% indicated that they viewed volunteer GM canola to be one of the top five weeds they need to control.
Key words: Genetically modified, herbicide tolerant, canola, economic impact, land management, herbicide use, benefits.