Table of Contents

Handbook on Agriculture, Biotechnology and Development

Handbook on Agriculture, Biotechnology and Development

Elgar original reference

Edited by Stuart J. Smyth, Peter W.B. Phillips and David Castle

This book is a compendium of knowledge, experience and insight on agriculture, biotechnology and development. Beginning with an account of GM crop adoptions and attitudes towards them, the book assesses numerous crucial processes, concluding with detailed insights into GM products. Drawing on expert perspectives of leading authors from 57 different institutions in 16 countries, it provides a unique, global overview of agbiotech following 20 years of adoption. Many consider GM crops the most rapid agricultural innovation adopted in the history of agriculture. This book provides insights as to why the adoption has occurred globally at such a rapid rate.

Chapter 36: Soybeans

Jorge Fernandez-Cornejo and Seth Wechsler

Subjects: development studies, agricultural economics, development studies, economics and finance, agricultural economics, environment, agricultural economics, biotechnology, environmental sociology, innovation and technology, biotechnology


Despite the relatively high price of herbicide-tolerant (HT) soybean seeds compared to conventional varieties, farmers have rapidly adopted HT soybeans since their commercial introduction in 1996 (Figures 36.1 and 36.2). Benefits from adopting HT crops may include higher yields, lower herbicide costs or savings in management time. HT soybeans were developed to tolerate herbicides that previously would have destroyed the crop along with the targeted weeds. Adopting HT soybeans enables farmers to apply effective post-emergent herbicides, expanding weed management options (Carpenter and Gianessi, 1999; Fernandez-Cornejo and Caswell, 2006). In the United States, HT soybean adoption has expanded more rapidly and widely than any other genetically modified (GM) crop, reaching more than 70 million acres (94 per cent of planted acreage) in 2011. Outside the US, adoption has also been rapid in Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Bolivia (James, 2011). Despite the benefits of HT soybeans, there are some concerns over their future environmental implications.

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