Ian D. McFarlane, Philip J. Jones, Julian R. Park, and Richard B. Tranter

University of Reading, UK

This article reports on a Delphi forecasting exercise carried out to identify crop traits that could feasibly be introduced to the advantage of arable farmers and for the general benefit of the public in EU member states. An expert stakeholder panel was recruited and asked for opinions on scenarios concerning the availability of GM events and also scenarios that envisage novel crops developed using advanced technology not classified as GM. In a second round of consultation, panel members commented anonymously on opinions elicited in the first phase. Results indicate that crops with input traits most likely to become available in the EU before 2025 are HTIR maize, HT sugarbeet, and HT soybean; these are already widely adopted outside Europe. The crops with output traits most likely to become available and offering benefits to consumers are winter-sown varieties of rape with reduced saturated fats, spring varieties of which are already available outside the EU (notably Canadian canola).

Key words: Forecasting, genetic modification, herbicide tolerance, insect resistance.