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