Biotech Acres Continue to Grow

June's acreage report shows growing acceptance for Bt and herbicide-resistant traits in corn, soybeans and cotton. Jacqui Fatka

Published on: Jul 1, 2004

Farmers planted more biotech crops in 2004 than ever before. Soybeans remain the crop with the greatest acceptance rate from producers, with a total of 85% of soybean acres using herbicide-resistant varieties.

Since 2000, herbicide-resistant soybean acres have increased from 54% to 85% in 2004. Lisa Dry, spokesperson for the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), says it is surprising to see the overwhelming acceptance of biotech soybeans. She adds that in 2003 the percent was 81% in 2003 and "it was amazing to see it go up to 85%" this year.

Corn has seen a steady increase in acceptance as well with 45% of the acreage using some form of biotechnology. According to statistics released by the USDA on June 30, Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) corn was the most used biotechnology method. Herbicide-resistant have also grown little by little over the past five years, encompassing 13% of corn acreage planted.

Herbicide-resistant cotton percentages went down due to farmers using more stacked genes as you look at the chart below. Cotton biotech acres make up nearly two-thirds of all the cotton acres in the United States.