USDA Report Details Growth of Biotech Crops

March of progress continues as more producers plant high-tech seeds. Willie Vogt

Published on: Mar 31, 2004

This morning's USDA market report, which includes planting intentions, also profiles farmer use of biotech crops. And for marketers of high-tech seeds, the news is good. Growth is continuing for corn, soybeans and cotton as more producers add the technology to their land.

Corn - Corn producers are going to plant 27% of their acres to corn enhanced with Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) this year. The report lumps together all Bt corn types including the newest rootworm product. That 27% is up from 25% in 2003. More importantly, when you bundle in herbicide tolerance and any stacked traits, total acres planted to biotech corn will reach 46% in 2004.

Soybeans - Soybeans have long been the leaders in acreage growth for biotechnology. Essentially the only trait available is glyphosate tolerance and for 2004, 86% of acres will be planted to the crop. That's up from 81% in 2003.

Cotton - Cotton producers also know the value of biotech for their crops. Insect resistant cotton will account for about 18% of acres in 2004, while stacked insect Bt and herbicide resistance will account for about 30% of all acres. When you add up the different cotton biotech types and lump them together, 76% of upland cotton acres will have some biotech crop on it for 2004.