State of Science :: Pesticides
"The Impact of Genetically Engineered Crops on Pesticide Use: The First Nine Years"
Author(s): Charles Benbrook, Ph.D.
Genetically engineered corn, soybeans, and cotton reduced pesticide use for the first three years of commerical use, 1996-1998, but by 1999, rising rates of glyphosate herbicide use on herbicide-tolerant crops resulted in a small, overall increase in pesticide use. The annual increase in pesticide use triggered by the planting of GE crops incrementally widened over the next five years.
Over the first nine years of use, 670 million acres were planted to GE corn, soybeans, and cotton. Overall pesticide use rose by 122 million pounds as a result. Bt corn and cotton reduced insecticide use by 15.6 million pounds, but herbicide-tolerant crops led to an increase of 138 million pounds in herbicide applications.