High-tech crops must be offering farmers a payback, at least according to the latest figures from USDA. Friday's crop report includes USDA's annual look at the advancement of biotechnology on corn, soybean and upland crop acres. This year's report shows biotech corn - including Bt, herbicide resistant and stacked varieties - went on more acres in 2006 than 2005.
For 2006, the number of acres planted to all biotech crops rose by 9 percentage points to 62%. The report shows that Bt corn stayed steady, but the number of acres planted to stacked gene varieties is up from 9% of acres to 15% - a significant boost.
For soybeans, long the darling biotech crop thanks to glyphosate tolerance success, the increase is minor and given the statistical variability of the study remains about the same as 2005 with about 89% of acres planted to the technology.
Upland cotton, where Bt and glyphosate-tolerance technology have been popular the percent of acres planted to all types of biotech rose from 79 to 83%. However, the biggest gains came in stacked-trait varieties while Bt-only and herbicide-resistant-only acres stayed flat.