16 October 1998

GM probe has £600,000 tag

NEW research to study the agricultural and environmental implications of growing different genetically modified crops within arable rotations has been announced.

The aim of the £600,000 four-year research programme, co-funded by MAFF and industry, is not to duplicate risk assessment work already done, but to generate practical guidelines for the most cost effective use of different GM herbicide-tolerant crops within a rotation and strategies for coping with any problems that may arise.

An earlier start to the work would have been desirable, according to the project team, but sufficient seed was unavailable and no funding was in place.

John MacLeod, director of the National Institute of Agricultural Botany, added that full results and farmer guidelines should be available by 2002, when NIAB expects the first commercial planting on a significant scale to take place.