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Environmental impacts from herbicide tolerant canola production in Western Canada

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  • Smyth, Stuart J.
  • Gusta, Michael
  • Belcher, Kenneth
  • Phillips, Peter W.B.
  • Castle, David
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    Abstract

    The commercial production of herbicide tolerant (HT) canola began in Western Canada in 1997. With more than a decade of use, the actual farm-level environmental impact of HT canola can be evaluated. This article reports on a spring 2007 survey of nearly 600 canola farmers in the three prairie provinces of Western Canada. Producers were asked about their crop production experiences for 2005 and 2006 and expected crop planting for 2007. A reduction in the total number of chemical applications over the 3-year period was reported, resulting in a decrease of herbicide active ingredient being applied to farmland in Western Canada of nearly 1.3 million kg annually. Fewer tillage passes over the survey period were reported, improving moisture conservation, decreasing soil erosion and contributing to carbon sequestration in annual cropland. An estimated 1 million tonnes of carbon is either sequestered or no longer released under land management facilitated by HT canola production, as compared to 1995. The value of this carbon off-set is estimated to be C$5 million. Comparisons with similar studies and against non-adoption of HT canola can guide future decisions about HT canola adoption.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Agricultural Systems.

    Volume (Year): 104 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 5 (June)
    Pages: 403-410

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:agisys:v:104:y:2011:i:5:p:403-410

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/agsy

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    Keywords: Genetically modified Herbicide tolerant Canola Environmental impact Chemical applications Carbon sequestration;

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    1. World Bank, 2010. "World Development Report 2010," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 4387, October.
    2. Demont, Matty & Wesseler, Justus & Tollens, Eric, 2003. "Biodiversity versus Transgenic Sugar Beet: The One Euro Question," 2003 Annual Meeting, August 16-22, 2003, Durban, South Africa 25831, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    3. Wesseler, Justus & Scatasta, Sara & Nillesen, Eleonora, 2007. "The maximum incremental social tolerable irreversible costs (MISTICs) and other benefits and costs of introducing transgenic maize in the EU-15," MPRA Paper 33229, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Smyth, Stuart J. & Phillips, Peter W.B., 2001. "Competitors Co-Operating: Establishing A Supply Chain To Manage Genetically Modified Canola," International Food and Agribusiness Management Review, International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IAMA), vol. 4(01).
    5. Demont, Matty & Daems, Wim & Dillen, Koen & Mathijs, Erik & Sausse, Christophe & Tollens, Eric, 2008. "Regulating coexistence in Europe: Beware of the domino-effect!," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(4), pages 683-689, February.
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