15 August 1997

Industry to talk on herbicide-tolerance

INDUSTRY will today (Fri) meet to discuss forming a strategy for the management of genetically modified herbicide tolerant crops.

The meeting, to be held at NFU headquarters, will discuss a revised paper by the British Agrochemical Association looking at advantages, disadvantages and practical guidelines to farmers.

It follows the publication last month of a MAFF consultation document on GM herbicide tolerant crops, which called for industry views prior to crops being commercially grown next year (News, July 18).

Although an industry-wide code of practice on GM crops to ensure traceability and best practice has already been drawn up, the specific strategy is expected to go further.

Richard Trow-Smith, BAA spokesman, argued GM herbicide tolerant crops would lead to less frequent use of herbicides, a lower pesticide application rate and thus less spent on growing the crop.

Roger Turner, British Society of Plant Breeders chief executive, said it was important that farmers were given the best possible guidelines in the management of GMHT crops, using the experience gained from commercial use in north America.

Documents needed

"Farmers need to have documents and paperwork to show the variety and tolerance of a particular GMO. And they must have practical guidelines from both the BAA and individual companies, such as AgrEvo and Monsanto on husbandry and management techniques."

Vernon Barber, NFU biotechnology adviser, said environmental issues would be on the agenda, such as the danger of the spread of plants with multiple herbicide tolerance.