12 October 1999
‘60 fields needed for GM trials’

GOVERNMENT scientists have decided they will need 60 large fields to carry out commercial trials on genetically modified (GM) crops, according to The Times.

The figure is larger than originally thought but smaller than that predicted by environmental activists.

Professor Chris Pollock, of the Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research and chairman of the Scientific Steering Committee for Farm Scale Evaluations, did not give an exact figure.

Trials are to take place in spring-sown oil seed rape, winter oil seed rape and forage maize.

The report suggests that the committee is “likely” to back a so-called split-field system for the trials.

This would identify farmers fields of around 15ha (37 acres) in size and dividing them in half.

Half would then be planted with conventionally developed oil seed rape or forage maize, and half with the GM version.